How does someone know if they are infected with HIV?

The only way someone knows their HIV status is to get tested. The HIV test looks for HIV antibodies that a person’s immune system makes once they are infected with HIV; the average person takes 3 to 6 months to make these antibodies. The test can be performed on a sample of blood or saliva and the results take about 1 to 2 weeks to return. An individual who engages in any risky behavior should be tested every six months.

The Bucks County Department of Health (as well as any other Health Department in Pennsylvania) and Planned Parenthood Association offer free HIV testing. Additionally, an individual can be tested by a private physician or in a hospital; note that testing in these settings is subject to a fee, and is usually covered by most health insurance plans. Remember, an individual should not assume they were tested for HIV just because they had blood drawn for other tests, he or she must specifically request an HIV test to be performed.

Show All Answers

1. What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?
2. What is an Opportunistic Infection (OI)?
3. Where did HIV come from?
4. How is someone infected with HIV?
5. Can I get HIV from casual contact with someone who is infected?
6. How can someone reduce the risk of being infected with HIV?
7. How does someone know if they are infected with HIV?
8. What are the symptoms of HIV infection?
9. Is there a cure for HIV?
10. Does everyone who has HIV eventually develop AIDS?
11. Where should someone begin if they want to get HIV care?
12. When should someone start taking HIV treatment?
13. How much does HIV care cost?
14. If someone is diagnosed with AIDS, does that mean they will die soon?
15. If someone is HIV positive, what else can they do to stay healthy?