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Health Information For Teens
If you’ve never been tested for HIV, it’s a good idea to check your status at least once. And you need to get checked regularly if you:
If someone is infected with HIV, it’s important to know because:
Another reason to get tested is peace of mind: A negative test result can be a big relief for someone who is worried about being infected.
To get tested, you can:
Many testing centers will do an HIV test for free. Ask if there is a fee before you go for testing. In most states you do not need a parent’s permission to get tested for HIV. And you can buy the test at the pharmacy without a parent.
Most HIV tests use a blood sample, either from a blood draw or finger prick. Others use saliva (spit), but this is a little less accurate than blood tests.
Some HIV tests look for the virus itself. But most look for the antibodies for HIV. Antibodies are part of the immune system and fight infections. When someone is infected with HIV, the body creates antibodies to fight HIV.
Testing results may be available that day or can take longer come back.
No, if someone was recently infected, it might not show up with testing. How quickly HIV shows up on testing depends on the type of test done:
It depends on where you get your testing. Testing sites have different privacy rules. Ask about privacy rules at your testing site so you understand whether anyone else will know you got tested or see your results.
If you go to an anonymous test site, only you know the results. No written record of the test result is kept.
If you go to a confidential test site, the results will go in your medical record. Positive results are sent to the state or local health department. Your insurance company will have access to your results. Depending on the state you live in, your parent or guardian may be contacted.
If you test positive for HIV, it is important to remember that with treatment you can live a long, healthy life. In fact, with early treatment, people with HIV can live about as long as people that are not infected.
A team approach will help you get the medical care and support that you need. Start by talking to your doctor or the counselor or social worker at the testing site. He or she can help you with suggestions on how to talk to your parents or guardians and how to find a health care provider who’s an HIV specialist. By starting treatment as soon as possible, you can stay healthy and learn to live well with HIV.
Talk to your doctor or the counselor or social worker at the testing site to see if you need to get tested again.
Some reasons to get tested again include if you:
If your HIV test is negative, it does not necessarily mean your partner is negative too. The only way to be sure that your partner does not have HIV is for him or her to get tested.
You can reduce the risk of getting HIV by:
Find out what the experts have to say.
People who have HIV might feel alone and frightened at times. More than anyone, they need good friends like you to lean on and trust.
If you suffer from a chronic illness, you know it can be anything but fun. But you can become better informed and more involved in your care. Here are tips to help you deal.
You’ve probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself.
AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is a disease where the body is unable to fight off many infectious diseases as it normally could. Find out how AIDS is spread and how to protect yourself against it.
There is no cure for AIDS, which is why prevention is so important. Get the facts on HIV/AIDS, as well as how it affects the body and is treated, in this article.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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