What can you do about this? The first step would be to take an HIV test; the test will determine the antibodies in your body which will reveal if you’re HIV positive or negative. When you are ill your body tries to fight the disease and in defence the Immune System creates antibodies to fight off an infection. If you have the virus in your body then the blood test will reveal the antibodies as it is easier to detect what the body is fighting rather than the virus itself. If your test results show that you are HIV positive it means that you are infected with the virus; if the test is negative it means that you are not infected with the disease.
Generally it takes 3 months for the Immune System to develop antibodies to fight off the disease which is then detected in a HIV test. Should you take a test within the waiting period which is between three to twelve weeks; your test results may reveal that the body is not combating the virus. However the virus could reveal itself in body fluids and in the blood which means that traces of the virus can be found in vaginal fluid, semen, blood and should a woman be pregnant then in the breast milk. This means that even though the test result illustrates that the body has not created the antibodies to fight of HIV which means that you are HIV negative; you could in fact be infected with HIV which is Human Immunodeficiency Virus therefore taking regular tests is vital.
By knowing your body and being aware of your actions you can prevent yourself from contracting the HIV virus. If you have had sexual intercourse with a person you have recently met and you are not aware of his/her HIV status; then you can only protect yourself by using a condom. Either way you should always take precaution because the side effects of HIV are not clearly visible as symptoms appear similar to a cold or flu.
Should you find out that you are HIV positive then you can seek counselling immediately or join a Medical Aid or start Life Cover as treatment and counselling are included in the Medical package offered. You can speak with a Healthcare specialist who will educate you about the treatment of HIV and AIDS.
Your family and sexual partner should be contacted in order for you to receive immediate emotional support. Your HIV status will remain confidential until you decide to share it with loved ones or your employer. Should you choose to join a Medical Aid then your HIV status is kept confidential; this is important as many people still have negative connotations to people living with HIV and AIDS.
The best advice is to know your body and to keep yourself safe by using condoms when engaging in sexual activity. Should you use drugs then make sure that you use clean and sterile injections and needles. If you are a mother and you have tested for HIV and your status is positive then you need to take necessary precautions to keep your child safe. Test yourself regularly and seek professional counselling and visit your doctor or specialist regularly. Eating healthily and exercising will assist you in sustaining strength both physically and mentally. Always seek support from your loved ones.