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More facts about HIV awareness

What contact is safe?

HIV can’t live very long outside the body, so you can’t get it through casual contact. You can’t get the virus by touching, shaking hands, hugging, swimming in a public pool, giving blood, or using hot tubs, public toilets, telephones, doorknobs or water fountains. You also can’t get it from food, mosquitoes or other insects.

Should I be tested for HIV?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) encourages all sexually active people between 13 years and 64 years of age to get tested. The CDC also recommends that pregnant women be tested for HIV. Most HIV antibody tests done by your doctor are accurate if they are done 2 to 3 months or longer after you think you may have been infected. It takes this long for the antibodies to show up in the blood.

Are there HIV tests I can do at home?

There is only one HIV home kit that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Home Access HIV-1 Test System is a collection kit that is used to collect a blood sample that is then mailed to a laboratory for testing. This test offers the advantage of privacy and anonymity.

Should I use the home test or see my doctor?

Your doctor is concerned about you, your health and your privacy. If you want to be tested for HIV, you should see your doctor. He or she will help you decide whether you should be tested and will give you the support you need before and after the test. You don’t get this type of support with home tests.

However, if you are afraid to talk with your doctor about HIV or to be tested, then the home collection test may be a good idea. If the test result is positive, you should see your doctor right away.

Remember, one negative test is not a guarantee that you don’t have HIV or won’t get it in the future. You should talk with your doctor and learn about ways to protect yourself from getting infected

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