FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is HIV?
HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus that gets into a person’s cells. HIV affects the immune system, specifically the T-Cells or CD4 cells which fight infection.
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is caused by HIV and is a late stage of infection.
How to prevent infection
There is no cure or vaccine for HIV. However, HIV is treatable and preventable.
How is the virus transmitted?
HIV is transmitted sexually, by contact with blood or it can also be transmitted from a mother to her child.
How is the virus NOT transmitted?
There is no risk of HIV transmission through saliva, sweat, tears, cough or sneezing. It is not transmitted through daily contact or contact that involves sharing social, work or school spaces.
Many people with HIV do not experience any systems until the late stages of the disease. In fact, the virus can live in your body for as many as 10 years – or more – without causing any obvious symptoms.
Is it possible at first sight to know that someone lives with HIV?
No. The virus can only be detected through the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) test.
About the test
Why should I get tested?
Knowing your HIV status is the best way to protect your health and the health of your partner or partners. If you are HIV-positive, early diagnosis gives you the best chance to live a healthy, long life.
Where can I get tested for HIV?
In any Health Center or public Hospital you can get tested. Also, you can take the test at the AHF test centers and allies.
How long will the test take?
The actual test time will be from 1 minute to 20 minutes depending on the type of test used.
How long will I have to wait for my results?
You will receive your results before you leave.
How much will HIV testing cost?
Getting an HIV test is free at all of our sites and at the sites of all of our partner organizations.
Who will give me the test?
The test will be administered by a trained and certified HIV testing counselor.
Will I have to answer a lot of personal questions?
We only gather the minimum information necessary and required to comply with regulations and to assist us in designing the best health programs for the people we serve.
What is the ideal time to get tested for HIV?
Today is the right time.
What if my test results show that I am HIV-positive?
If you receive an HIV-positive test result, our trained and certified counselors will walk you through the next steps.
What is the difference between living with HIV and having AIDS?
Living with HIV means that the virus lives in your body, while having AIDS is when the immune system (body’s defenses) is already very weak and the person is exposed without protection, to infectious diseases that take advantage of this opportunity (opportunistic infections).
About the result
Does having HIV mean that I am going to die?
No. As long as you have proper medical treatment and take antiretroviral medications with proper medical control, you increase your quality of life.
What are antiretrovirals and why are they important?
Antiretrovirals are medications that prevent the multiplication of HIV in the body.
If I have HIV, when can I start using antiretrovirals?
As soon as you have the results of the necessary laboratory tests, and under the control of qualified health personnel, you can start antiretroviral treatment.
Can I take other medications (such as naturopathic medications) at the same time I am taking my antiretroviral treatment?
Before taking any type of medication – even if they are naturists – you should consult the attending physician.
If I already know my diagnosis and have improved my health, can I stop taking antiretrovirals?
No. Antiretrovirals should be taken for life, according to the indications of the medical professional in charge of your treatment.