Getting tested for HIV can be a scary and intimidating experience. Often association with HIV is met with a lot of stigma and fears about being discriminated. But being tested for HIV is a normal part of anyone’s physical health, regardless of whether or not they are sexually active, and a lot can be done in the case of if an individual is diagnosed with being HIV positive.

What does HIV Testing Consist Of?

HIV Testing consists primarily of a blood test. As a part of being tested for HIV or other STI’s, a blood draw would be performed.
From this blood sample, one of two tests can be performed in regards to HIV.

A live virus test looks for the actual virus within the blood. This test is instant and can be performed with immediate results.
Antibody test that looks for signs of fighting off the virus within your blood. This test requires your sample to be sent off to a lab.

Why Should I Be Getting Tested Regularly?

Although tests exist that allow for instant results, there are a few limitations to the scope in which it can detect HIV. For the live virus test, it requires a sufficient level of virus to be present to detect it, allowing for the possibility of false negatives. For the antibody test, it can take up to 6 months for your body to produce antibodies in response to HIV, which can also produce false negatives.

It is important to get tested regularly, because the virus can be missed if you were infected too close to your STI Test.

Getting tested regularly is the only way to know for sure what your status is over time.

Where Can I get Tested?

You can get tested at many different locations, including your family doctor, sexual health clinics, and educational institutions.

Find a list here of areas within Lethbridge to get tested.
You can also get tested at our Urban Spirits Nursing Clinic.