How do I get tested for HIV/AIDS?
There are several ways to be tested for HIV. Rapid HIV testing includes a sample taken through oral fluid or a finger-prick. Results are available in as little as 20 to 30 minutes. Reactive results are usually confirmed through an additional blood test. Testing is always confidential.
Where do I get tested and what is the cost?
Many places provide free confidential testing. You can locate testing sites near you through the following website: https://locator.aids.gov. Or call NFAN at 904-356-1612, ext. 110.
What do I do if I test positive?
The first thing to do is see a healthcare provider. Referrals will be made by the agency providing your results. You can also call NFAN and we will link you with the proper providers. It is important to move quickly to keep yourself healthy and learn how to avoid passing the infection to others.
What do HIV test results mean?
If your body is trying to fight HIV, your blood or saliva sample will show it in a couple of ways. The first is your CD4 count, which is a measure of the white blood cells that HIV destroys. If these white blood cells dip below 200, you are considered to have AIDS. The second is your viral load, which shows how much HIV is in your blood. Both signals give your doctor information to help your body fight HIV and stay healthier.
Your proof of positivity for HIV is called the POP, and you will need it to receive most HIV/AIDS services.
A CD4 count measures the number of CD4 cells in a sample of blood. CD4 cells are infection-fighting cells of the immune system. HIV destroys CD4 cells, which damages the immune system. A damaged immune system makes it hard for the body to fight off infections. Treatment with HIV medicines prevents HIV from destroying CD4 cells. The higher a person’s CD4 count is, the better.
A viral load test measures how much virus is in the blood. A goal of HIV treatment is to keep a person’s viral load so low that the virus can’t be detected by a viral load test. An undetectable viral load means that your body is well equipped to fight infection and reduces the likelihood of transmitting the virus to someone else.
Will the HIV test tell me how I got the disease?
No, the test will only show if you have the signs that mean your body has HIV. It won’t tell you how you were exposed to the disease.