HIV infection doesn’t just happen. You can’t catch it like a cold or the flu. You won’t get it through everyday contact with infected people at work, school, home or anywhere else. You get HIV by exposure to infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from another person. Once is all it takes!
A test for HIV detects the presence of antibodies to the HIV virus. This is NOT a test for AIDS. The test does not tell you if you have AIDS; it does show if you have been infected with the virus which can cause AIDS. Testing for HIV has typically been done by collecting a blood sample; however, First District Health Unit in cooperation with the ND Department of Health has recently expanded its testing to give people the option of submitting an oral fluid specimen for testing.
A negative test result means that no HIV antibodies have been found in your blood because a) you have not been infected with the virus, or b) you are infected, but your body has not yet produced sufficient antibodies to result in a positive test. Antibodies may not develop for several weeks. You could still pass the infection on to others. A positive test result means HIV antibodies have been found in your blood. You have been infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. You can pass the virus to other people during vaginal, anal, or oral sex, or while sharing drug needles. If you are pregnant or become pregnant, you could pass the virus on to your baby.
If you answer “yes” to any of the following you should be tested: Have you ever had unprotected sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with a man or woman who:
- You know was infected with HIV?
- Injects or has injected drugs?
- Shared needles with someone who was infected?
- Had multiple sex partners?
- You normally wouldn’t have sex with?
- Have you ever used needles or syringes that were used by anyone before you?
- Have you ever given or received sex for drugs or money?
- Did you or any of your partners receive treatment for hemophilia or have a blood transfusion or organ transplant from 1978 through 1985?
Services are provided in the Minot office at no charge, however donations are accepted.
The following web site offers additional information: http://www.health.state.nd.us/