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HIV Testing

Information on HIV

HIV testing is a recommended routine screening test in pregnancy to protect the baby from getting HIV from an infected mother. HIV is a blood-borne viral infection that attacks and weakens the immune system, resulting in a decreased ability to resist and fight off other infections. Uncontrolled, end-stage infection results in AIDS, in which the immune system is not working, and patients are susceptible to many life-threatening infections and cancers. Good treatment is now available to control HIV and prevent the development of AIDS, allowing patients to live healthy, productive lives. However, HIV is still commonly diagnosed very late in infection when patients are already very ill. One in four HIV-positive people do not know they are positive.

HIV Testing

There are 3 possible results of HIV testing:
NEGATIVE - This result means that you may not be infected with HIV. Very recent exposure to the HIV virus (within 3-6 months) may produce a negative test result even though you are HIV-infected.
INDETERMINATE - This test means that further testing is needed. This result may occur very early in infection or may be a false cross reaction.
POSITIVE - This result suggests that you may be infected with HIV. You may be referred to a specialist to verify this result and discuss further care.

Means to Reduce Risk for Contracting or Spreading HIV

You can reduce the risk of getting HIV in many ways.
PREVENTION: Sexual abstinence, avoid sharing needles, not breastfeeding if you have HIV.
RISK REDUCTION: Correct use of condoms, avoid using mood altering substances, using the female condom, use clean needles/IV equipment, using antiretroviral (ART) medication during pregnancy by the infected mother reduces the chances of passing HIV to her baby, in some circumstances cesarean delivery may be recommended to reduce the chance of passing HIV from the infected mother to her baby.

Additional Sources of Information on HIV

Additional information regarding testing for HIV is available through your County Health Department and, in Phoenix Metropolitan area, 602-364-3610, or outside the Phoenix area, 800-334-1540.

 

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