Individuals who are at high risk and eligible for free testing include:
HIV test results are only given in person and counseling is available
for everyone regardless of risk factors.
HIV / AIDS Questions & Answers
Why should I be tested for HIV? If you're having unprotected sex with someone you don't know well,
or you suspect your partner is having sex with someone else, you could
have HIV and not know it. And HIV test is the only way to find out.
- If you are or become pregnant, you can reduce the risk of passing
HIV to your baby.
- If you know you have HIV, you can protect the person you have sex
with from getting infected.
- If you have HIV, it is important to help the people you've had sex
with or the people you've shared drugs with to get tested for HIV. A
test counselor can also help you decide if your children need to be
- If you had dental or medical procedures in another country, it may
not have been possible to clean equipment that had some one else's blood
on it before it was used on you.
- An HIV test can give you peace of mind. It is the only way you can
know for sure if you have HIV.
What is HIV?
HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that causes
AIDS. Over time, HIV gradually weakens the body's ability to fight
disease. HIV makes it easier to get many infections and cancers that
would not normally occur in a healthy person. HIV is life threatening.
How is HIV passed from person to person?
HIV can be spread in several
What is AIDS?
- Having sex without a condom
- Sharing drug injection equipment
- Blood transfusions
- Organ transplants
- Sharing razors, toothbrushes, needles for tattooing or other objects
that may have blood on them.
- If a mother has HIV, it can be passed to her baby, either at birth
or through breast feeding
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the late
stage of HIV infection. If a person has AIDS, it means that HIV has
caused severe damage to the body's immune system.
You cannot get HIV from:
- Shaking hands
- Hugging or Kissing
- Sharing eating utensils
- Food or other things touched by people who have HIV or AIDS
- Toilet seats
- Mosquito bites
What can I expect if I have an HIV Test?
Your doctor or an HIV test counselor will talk to you about the test
and what will happen after the test. They will take a sample of your
blood for testing. It takes Skagit County Public Health 5-7 days to
get the results back. You will need to come back to the health department
for your results.
What if my test result is positive?
If your test result is positive, it means that you have HIV. There
are many things you can do to stay healthy and live longer. The first
step is to see a doctor who has experience treating people who have
HIV or AIDS. This doctor will evaluate your health and help you understand
the medications that are available to treat HIV.
While there is no cure for HIV, new medications have greatly improved
the health and quality of life for many people who have HIV or AIDS.
What about people I've had sex with?
Your HIV test only tests YOU.
It does not tell you about your wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend
or anybody else. These people can only find out if they have HIV by
getting an HIV test themselves. Adapted from Seattle-King County Public Health, January 2006