you took a chance just once, and now you're wondering . . .
“HMMM...SHOULD I GET AN HIV TEST?”
If you’ve ever taken a risk with sex or with needles – even just
one time – then getting an HIV test is the smart thing to do.
Risky behaviors include having unprotected sex or sharing
needles for drug use, piercing, or tattooing.
When you get
tested, a counselor will tell you about the testing process. An
HIV test looks for antibodies that the immune system makes to
fight HIV. If these antibodies are found, then the test result
is called “positive.” This means that you have been infected
with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
will talk with you about HIV/AIDS and help you see if you are
taking any risks. He or she will make sure you know how to
protect yourself from HIV infection. A counselor will explain
“window period” – if your test is negative but you’ve taken any
risk recently, then you will need a second test after a few
months to be sure you’re not infected. After you’ve had the
test, you’ll be given an appointment to come back in about two
weeks for your results. The counselor will answer any questions
you may have.
knowing your HIV status helps you:
you test negative
after the “window period” has passed, then you can look on this
as a new beginning. From now on, if you avoid all risky
behaviors, then you will stay “HIV-free.”
you test positive,
getting medical care right away can help you stay as healthy as
possible, even though HIV infection is still incurable.
simple. It can be done using a blood sample, a urine sample, or
by taking some cells from inside your mouth. You can ask your
own health care provider for an HIV test, visit a registered
test site, or go to special community events where HIV tests are
being given. At publicly funded sites, the test will be free or
the cost may be lowered, depending on your income. No one is
refused a test due to not being able to pay.
To find where
registered HIV test sites are located in Broward, call the
Florida HIV/AIDS Hotline at:
1-800-FLA-AIDS English Language Hotline
1-800-545-SIDA Spanish Language Hotline
1-800-AIDS-101 Creole Language Hotline
1-888-503-7118 TDD/TTY Hotline
or you can
search on the web at
You can also
call the Broward County Health Department at:
Or check out the locations on the
Department of Health’s website
to Jolene Mullins, Early Intervention Specialist, Broward County
Health Dept., for help on this article.