The only way you will know if you are HIV positive or HIV negative is by having yourself tested.  The process is simple and the results can be obtained quickly.

In order to understand your HIV position or status you can have yourself checked by your doctor.  He or she will take a blood sample; this method is the most common.  A urine sample or mouth swab will also reveal whether you are HIV positive or HIV negative.  You can also visit a clinic closest to you to have yourself tested.

Ideally you would like your results to reveal that you are HIV negative.  This means that you do not have the HIV antibodies in your body.  If you require further information on your HIV status your doctor should provide you with a clear understanding of your HIV position or status.  If your test results reveal that you are HIV negative you should continue to practise safe sex.  In some cases test results have revealed a negative result but by taking a second test, after a certain period of time, the result is positive. The reason for this is that the antibodies of the virus can take up to 42 days to manifest in the body.  This is referred to as the window period where the antibodies are not discovered in the blood.  It is therefore advisable to retest yourself within 6 weeks after your initial test.

If your test is HIV positive then it means that you have HIV.  This means that the antibodies which cause the virus have been traced in your blood.  It is very important to seek counselling to address your status.  You may require psychological and medical advice on how to manage your status.  A counsellor can advise you on antiretroviral treatment which is also referred to as ART.  In most countries ART is freely available to HIV positive people.  You should seek support from family and friends.  It is important that you educate yourself and learn as much as possible about your HIV position.

By testing yourself voluntarily for HIV you are taking responsibility for yourself and others.  You should consider your sexual partner too.  He or she should take regular HIV tests to make certain that the virus is not spreading.

Millions of people around the world are HIV positive.  They know this because they had themselves tested.  You too can make a difference by knowing your HIV position or status.