Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

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Common Questions

1. How do I know whether I should get tested for HIV?

Consider getting tested if:

  • you are sexually active,
  • you have shared needles for injecting drugs, or
  • you are an emergency worker who has come into contact with a hypodermic needle or a patient’s or victim’s blood.

2. How confidential are HIV test results?

Certain testing centres provide either anonymous (your name is never given) or confidential (your name is given but kept private) HIV testing and counselling.

3. Should I tell anyone else of my results?

Yes. If you test positive for HIV, it is important that you tell your health care providers as well as all current and future sex partners and/or anyone with whom you share needles. Counseling services are available that will help you to inform the people who need to know. For more information, visit the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention website for their HIV Counseling, Testing, and Referral Guidelines and Partner Counseling and Referral Services Guidance.

4. Are there treatments for HIV/AIDS?

Currently, there is no cure for HIV or AIDS. However, certain therapies can help. The CDC’s booklet, called Living with HIV/AIDS, is available online.

5. Does everyone who has HIV get AIDS?

Most people infected with HIV will develop AIDS. However, it may take several years. It is estimated that roughly 50% of people with HIV will develop AIDS within 10 years of becoming infected.

6. Can you get HIV/AIDS from donating blood?

No. It is very safe to donate blood because sterile needles are used.

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