If you obtain a positive result from an antibody test, you will need a second (follow-up) test to validate your findings.
If you test positive in a community testing program or a self-test, you should seek follow-up testing from a health care provider.
If your test is positive and was done in a healthcare environment or a lab, the lab will do follow-up testing normally on the same blood sample as the first test.
If the follow-up test also shows that you have HIV, you are infected (or are HIV-positive).
As soon as you’ve been diagnosed with HIV, you should seek medical attention and begin HIV therapy. All people with HIV, regardless of how long they’ve had the virus or how healthy they are, should start antiretroviral treatment or ART (taking drugs to treat HIV infection). HIV medication works by drastically reducing the amount of virus in your body. The viral load can be reduced to such a low level that a test will miss it (called an undetectable viral load). HIV treatment helps preserve your immune system while slowing the progression of HIV. You can live life a long and healthy life if you take your HIV medication as directed and maintain an undetectable viral load. An undetectable viral load also controls the risk of the infection spreading to others. If your viral load is undetectable, you have virtually no chance of spreading HIV through sex to an HIV-negative partner.
An HIV diagnosis can drastically alter one’s life. Sadness, hopelessness, and wrath are just a few of the feelings that people can feel. Allied health care providers and social support providers, who are frequently accessible at your health care provider’s office, will be able to guide you in working through the early phases of your HIV diagnosis and beginning to manage your HIV.
Does it indicate I have AIDS if I test positive for HIV?
No. You do not have AIDS if you are HIV-positive. AIDS is the maximum stage of HIV infection. If HIV is not treated or managed correctly, it might progress to AIDS. However, if HIV patients take their medication as directed, they may live a long and healthy life without being diagnosed with AIDS.