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How will you know if you have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)?

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HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. The only way to know if you have HIV is to take an HIV test. Most look for antibodies that fight the virus or traces of the virus itself in your blood. You also can check your pee or fluid from your mouth (not saliva). A positive test means that there were traces of HIV; a negative test means that no signs of HIV were found. Some HIV tests can give a result in 20-30 minutes.

Most tests can't detect HIV right after infection, because it takes usually takes 2-8 weeks for your body to make antibodies or for enough virus to grow inside you. It may take up to 6 months before you'll see a positive result, which means an early test could be negative even though you're infected.

SOURCES:

CDC.

National HIV Testing Resources.

FDA: "FDA Approves First Over-the-Counter Home Use HIV Test Kit," "FDA approves first rapid diagnostic test to detect both HIV-1 antigen and HIV-1/2 antibodies."

Home Access Health Corporation: “The Home Access HIV-1 Test System."

Patel, P. , May 2012. Journal of Clinical Virology

Alere, Inc.: The Alere Determine HIV-1/2 Ag/Ab Combo.

Abbott: Architect HIV Antigen/Antibody Combo.

Bio-Rad Laboratories: GS HIV Combo Ag/Ab EIA.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: "Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: Screening."

AIDS.gov: "Overview of HIV Treatments."

AIDSinfo: "Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1-Infected Adults and Adolescents," July 14, 2016.

Reviewed by Jonathan E. Kaplan on June 23, 2019

SOURCES:

CDC.

National HIV Testing Resources.

FDA: "FDA Approves First Over-the-Counter Home Use HIV Test Kit," "FDA approves first rapid diagnostic test to detect both HIV-1 antigen and HIV-1/2 antibodies."

Home Access Health Corporation: “The Home Access HIV-1 Test System."

Patel, P. , May 2012. Journal of Clinical Virology

Alere, Inc.: The Alere Determine HIV-1/2 Ag/Ab Combo.

Abbott: Architect HIV Antigen/Antibody Combo.

Bio-Rad Laboratories: GS HIV Combo Ag/Ab EIA.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: "Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: Screening."

AIDS.gov: "Overview of HIV Treatments."

AIDSinfo: "Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1-Infected Adults and Adolescents," July 14, 2016.

Reviewed by Jonathan E. Kaplan on June 23, 2019

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Who should get tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)?

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