HIV Counselling and Testing
If you know you have put yourself at risk and had unprotected sex you should go for an HIV test.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, what kind of relationship you are in, if you are single, married or in a long-term relationship – everyone should know if they are HIV positive or not. Going for an HIV test is called HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT). HCT is not just about going for a blood test. When you go for HCT you get counselling and important information about how to live with HIV, and also how to protect yourself from HIV infection. When you go for an HIV test you fi rst get pre-test counselling where you are told everything you need to know about HIV and about how the test is done. You can then decide if you want to go ahead and get tested. The healthcare worker will prick your fi nger and place a drop of blood into a test kit. These tests are called Rapid Tests because they are quick and you get the results in about 15 minutes.
After you get your results, you will be given post-test counselling. If you test negative you will be given advice on how to make sure you remain HIV negative. You will also be told about the ‘window period’, which is when you have been exposed to HIV but your immune system has not produced any antibodies yet and so the test cannot pick up if you are positive. You will need to go back in about 3 months time for another test.