Get a Free HIV Test
To find FREE HIV Testing locations in the US, use this locator, courtesy of the CDC:
Why do I need to get an HIV test?
The only way to know if you are infected is to be tested. Because a test is a snapshot of your health at one given time, it is wise to be tested periodically. It can take three to five months from exposure to HIV infection to when HIV can be found in a blood test.
As with other diseases, the earlier HIV infection is discovered, the more effectively it can be treated.
Where to Go for an HIV Test
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation operates the largest private Rapid 20 Minute HIV and STD testing program in California. It also offers testing in Florida and Washington, DC. These testing facilities can be found in a variety of settings, including mobile vans. To learn more about this confidential testing program, log onto www.freehivtest.net. You can also call (213) 405-5800 for more information.
The National HIV Testing Resources website also provides help in finding an HIV testing site. To get information by telephone, the Centers for Disease Control have a hotline at 1 800-CDC-INFO (232-4636) that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It offers information in English and en Español. These resources are confidential as well.
You can also ask your health care provider to give you an HIV test.
What to do if You Test Positive for HIV
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) can help. Find out what steps you should take now to safeguard your health.
If you just learned you are HIV positive, it’s natural to feel scared, confused and unsure what to do next. First, concentrate on the good news – HIV is not a death sentence. Today, there are many effective medications and treatments available that can help control the disease and live a healthy and productive life.
Second, take a proactive approach to your new diagnosis -put yourself in control. If you’re recently diagnosed, here are a few things you should start doing now:
This is one of the most important choices you will make. Look for a physician who specializes in HIV care. Your physician should be someone with whom you can talk openly. Think of you and your physician as a team. You will be working closely together to maintain your quality of life and take the very best care of you possible.
Start by asking yourself a few questions about what is important to you in a doctor. Is it location, availability, reputation, age, ethnicity, additional services offered, or openness to alternative therapies? Make a detailed list for yourself. Then, begin researching HIV physicians you think fit your criteria. You can also ask for referrals from others with HIV/AIDS.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation is the largest medical provider for people living with HIV/AIDS in the US. It is renown for its quality healthcare and employs only expert healthcare professionals in the field of HIV/AIDS. To learn more about AHF’s Heathcare Centers in California, Florida and Washington, DC, click here.
Finding an organization like AIDS Healthcare Foundation can be an excellent addition to your medical treatment. HIV/AIDS organizations provide information and advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS. They can serve as a support structure for newly diagnosed individuals by helping them with healthcare concerns and other issues that come up related to their HIV status.
Knowledge really is power and the more you know about your disease, the more actively and intelligently you can participate in your own medical care. Take the time to learn more about the disease, the medical tests involved, insurance issues, etc. However, don’t overwhelm yourself. HIV is a complex disease. There is much to know. Give yourself the time to absorb the information you’ve learned and don’t be afraid to ask questions of your healthcare provider.
As a newly diagnosed person, you may feel depressed, or feel like isolating yourself from family, friends and others. It is extremely important at this time to maintain connections with people and do everything you can to take the best care of yourself. You know that when you eat right, exercise, get enough rest, and have a strong support system in place, you feel better and stronger.
Now is the time to be vigilant about these things. You will also need to maintain adherence to any new drug regimen your physician may prescribe for you. Take the time to do what you need to do for you, don’t be afraid to ask questions and you will be on your way to taking control of your health.
Learning you have HIV can cause many emotions from fear to worry to anger to sadness and depression. One way to fight the fears and anxiety is to learn as much as possible about HIV/AIDS. This lets you take the best care of yourself and to make the best decisions about your treatment.
If you can’t sleep, eat, concentrate or have thoughts of suicide talk to your doctor. Treatment can be very helpful if you are depressed or feel anxious.
Go to the most informed sources you can to learn more. These include your doctor and national and local AIDS organizations. Going to support groups and talking to others can be very helpful.
With the newest drugs and treatment programs, people today are living with HIV longer and with a better quality of life.
Knowing who to tell when you learn that you have HIV can be a challenge. You may not feel like telling anyone. On the other hand, letting the right people know can help you feel better. You won’t have to keep secrets from those close to you. You’ll be able to talk about what’s in your mind and important to you.
It’s extremely important that you tell anyone with whom you have had sex. This can be difficult. It’s essential that they be told so they can be tested and get treatment, if necessary. Knowing if they have HIV can help them from spreading it to others.Tell anyone you plan to have sex with. Practicing safe sex will help protect your health and that of any partners. In some states, not telling a sexual partner you have HIV before having sex is a felony.Tell your doctor and dentist. This helps them give you the right kind of care. As medical professionals, they have an obligation to keep this information private and confidential. A doctor or dentist cannot refuse to treat you because you have HIV.