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Teen Health

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HIV/AIDS and Teens FAQ

Can I get HIV from getting a tattoo?

Yes, if the person who gives you the tattoo uses the same needle that was used on someone who has HIV.

That's because any activity that can result in blood getting passed from one person to another carries a risk of HIV infection.

Can I get HIV from someone sneezing on me or from touching someone's used tissue?

No. HIV is not passed on in sweat, saliva, or tears.

Some other things to know about catching AIDS:

  • The body fluids that contain the highest concentration of HIV are blood, semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk, and other fluids that contain blood.
  • You can't catch it from casual contact like you can a cold or the flu.
  • Holding hands or touching someone's skin won't cause you to get the virus.
  • Sharing a drinking glass with someone does not spread the virus.
  • Open mouth (French) kissing is very low risk for getting the virus unless there are open sores in the mouth or there is blood present.

How do you know if someone has HIV?

The only way to know for sure whether you or someone else has HIV or AIDS is by testing. A person may be positive for HIV but take more than 10 years to develop symptoms.

If I've had sex that put me at risk, how soon should I get tested?

Most experts recommend waiting to be tested until three months after having sex that put you at risk. That's because it may take that long to develop antibodies that can be found by testing. There are, though, some newer tests that may provide results sooner. Discuss your timing for having tests with your doctor.

It's important to avoid risky behaviors during that three-month period. If you think you are infected, see a doctor right away. He or she can help guide you in the testing.

Where do I go to be tested?

The best thing to do is talk to your health care provider. He or she will:

  • Determine whether or not you should be tested.
  • Explain the testing procedure.
  • Describe your options for testing.
  • Help you locate the nearest testing site.

You can also find out where the nearest testing site is by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636). You can call 24 hours a day. The call is confidential. No one will know you called.

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