Home -> FAQ -> Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about HIV/AIDS -> If I think I might have been exposed to HIV, can I find out if I have HIV by getting tested right away?

If I think I might have been exposed to HIV, can I find out if I have HIV by getting tested right away?

Answer

No. Infection with HIV has no specific symptoms. The only way you can find out if you are infected with HIV is by having an HIV test, a test that looks for antibodies to HIV in your blood. Antibodies are made by your body to try to fight infection. But usually, it takes about 3 months after HIV infection for people to develop antibodies to HIV.

Getting an HIV test before the 3-month period is up can result in an unclear test result, because an infected person may not yet have developed antibodies to HIV. It is best to wait at least three months after the last time you could have been exposed to HIV (i.e., having sex without a condom or having an injection from a needle that could have been contaminated) before taking the test. Even if your test is negative after 3 months, some test centers may recommend testing again at 6 months, just to be extra sure.

It is also important that you take precautions not to further expose yourself to HIV if you have been exposed and are waiting to have the HIV test. If you are sexually active, you should use a condom every time you have sex, and you should be careful to avoid contact with other people's blood and needles that could be contaminated.

Category

 
  • AIDS Resource Center
  • AIDS Resource Center
  • AIDS Resource Center
  • AIDS Resource Center
  • AIDS Resource Center
  • AIDS Resource Center