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HIV/AIDS and Teens FAQ

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.

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.

Do I have to tell my parents if I want to get tested?

That depends on where you go to be tested. Some clinics want your parents' permission before they offer you a test.

Most clinics are confidential. No one else will be told about your test results. You can call a clinic before going there to find out what its policy is on keeping your test confidential.

It's a good idea, though, to talk with an adult you trust about your concerns. A trusted adult can help you sort through your options. The adult can also help you think about your behavior and what to do about behavior that puts you at risk.

If I decide to get a test, does the person I had sex with need to get tested, too?

The test will tell you only about yourself. Your sexual partner could still have HIV, even if your test is negative.

What happens if my test is positive?

The earlier you get treatment, the better chance you have of being able to stay well. If your test is positive, talk with your health care provider about your treatment options and what you need to do to live a long, healthy life.

Take-Away Tips About AIDS

  • Never have sex without using a condom.
  • Do not use illegal drugs or get tattoos with unclean needles.
  • If you think you may be infected with AIDS, see a doctor right away. You can also call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 07, 2013

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