I’m worried about getting HIV. How can I get it and how do I know if I have it?
HIV is a virus that can be transmitted through sex. There is a greater risk of getting HIV if you have unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse with a person who already has HIV. You can also contract HIV if you have oral sex with a person who already has HIV; especially if you get semen in your mouth.
If a person who has HIV takes medication for HIV, there is little risk of the virus being contagious. But it is always best to use some form of protection, for example a condom.
HIV can even be transmitted through blood, for example, if you use the same syringe as a person who has HIV. A child can become infected during pregnancy if its mother has HIV. A baby can also become infected through breast milk when breastfeeding.
Get tested if you think you have been infected with HIV. You can go to a Youth Guidance Centre, a dermatology, a venereology clinic or a health clinic. You must wait at least one week from the time you may have been infected until you can be tested.
When you are tested for HIV, a doctor or nurse will take a blood sample from your arm. You will most likely receive an answer after about one week, sometimes sooner.
You don’t pay anything for an HIV test. You can be tested anonymously, without telling anyone who you are.
If the test shows that you have HIV then you must tell the health care staff who you are. You will then be given medication for HIV. No one else will know that you have HIV if you don’t tell them yourself.