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HIV Home Tests

Making the decision to get tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is a big choice to make. 
Taking the option of getting tested at home is a relief to many. 
Today, there are HIV home testing kits available for you to insure confidentiality of your results.

Many people ask the question, "Why should you get tested for HIV?"

There are many reasons that people get tested for HIV. Maybe you’re sexually active and have engaged in behaviors that put you at risk of HIV infection. Maybe you’re starting a new relationship and have decided to get tested together. 
Whatever the case, there are many reasons why you should consider getting tested for HIV. 
If you've had sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, or anal) without a condom or you've learned that a partner was not monogamous, or you have been sexually assaulted. Sometimes condoms are not reliable and they break.

If you have been sharing needles or syringes to inject drugs (including steroids) or for body piercing, tattooing, or any other reasons. 
If you have had multiple sexual partners, found out that a partner has shared needles, learned that a past or current partner is HIV-positive, discovered that a partner has been exposed to HIV, had a recent diagnosis of another sexually transmitted disease (STD) or if you are pregnant.

HIV home tests can tell if you have been infected with HIV. 
When HIV infection occurs, the body develops antibodies to the virus. 
The HIV test checks to see if your body is making these antibodies. However, it doesn’t test for AIDS.

There are three different ways to be tested for HIV: a blood sample, saliva or a urine sample. 
HIV home testing kits require a blood sample, which can be easily obtained by pricking your finger. 
HIV home test kits come with a detailed instruction booklet with illustrations which will take you through pre-test registration and counseling; collecting your blood sample; shipping that sample to an accredited laboratory then calling back for test results. 
You have the option of post-test counseling and referrals. 
Your results will then be available anywhere from 3-7 days, depending on which HIV home testing kit you purchase.

A positive test result means that your body is making HIV antibodies. 
If the test finds antibodies, that means you are infected with HIV. However, it doesn’t mean you have AIDS or will develop AIDS soon.

A negative test result means no HIV antibodies were found in your body. 
But, you could still be infected if you have been exposed to HIV in the last six months. 
Your body may not have produced enough HIV antibodies to show up yet. 
Consider getting tested again in a few months.

If you test positive, find a health-care professional who has experience with HIV treatment. 
The earlier you begin treatment, the more likely the virus will develop slowly, so you can stay healthy longer. 
Many HIV positive people live for many years without developing AIDS, but the odds are better the earlier you start treatment.

If you test negative, practice abstinence or practice safer sex. 
Use a latex condom during each act of vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse. 
Don’t share needles or syringes to inject drugs or for any other reason. 
Remember, if you had unprotected sex or any other risky behavior that can transmit HIV in the last six months prior to getting tested, you will need to get a follow-up test in six months to be sure you are not infected.

HIV home testing kits offer anonymity because they use code numbers or names to identify your test.
Your name is never used
. You use the code to get your results. 
You are the only person who knows your results. 
With anonymous testing, you get to decide whom to tell and when to share the results.

Health Tests