(this information is pending approval for use by CATIE)
The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. If you know you have HIV, you can get the treatment and care you need.
It’s important to know your status and start treatment as soon as possible, as it can help you to stay healthy, to live a long life and to avoid passing HIV on to others.
The HIV test involves having some blood taken from your arm or a couple of drops of blood taken from your finger.
After HIV enters the body, it may take time before the test can detect the virus (this is known as the window period). Different HIV tests have different window periods. Some tests can detect HIV as early as 7 days and all tests give accurate results within three months.
Don’t wait. Speak to a healthcare provider about getting tested for HIV as well as other STIs and hepatitis C.
You can’t tell whether you have been infected with HIV by how you feel.
Some people have flu-like symptoms when they first get infected (fever, sore throat or swollen glands). But some people have no symptoms at all.
You can have HIV and not know it.
If you test positive:
- There have been huge advances in the treatment of HIV, and with the right treatment and care, you can stay healthy.
- To protect yourself and your partner(s), practise safer sex and avoid sharing drug equipment.
- Get connected. Visit HIV411.ca to locate an HIV organization near you. You can also call or email CATIE for information on HIV services in your area.
For more information if you are newly diagnosed with HIV, see:
- Just Diagnosed with HIV, first things to know about living with HIV
- Starting Points: Living with HIV, an easy-to-read primer on viral load, CD4 counts and healthy living
(information is taken from the following site: www.catie.ca/en/basics/hiv-and-aids#what)