Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is the virus that causes the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and can be transmitted via contact with an infected person’s blood or bodily fluids, including blood, vaginal secretions, semen, and breast milk. HIV infects many people each year, though most will carry the virus asymptomatically for years before they show any symptoms. Infected individuals are contagious during this time.
HIV testing is performed by taking a small amount of blood, either from your arm or a finger stick. The rapid testing available at SHS will give a result within 20-30 minutes. Otherwise the blood is sent to a lab for testing and the results are available usually in one week. In order to obtain your results, you must return for a follow-up appointment. Results are seldom given over the phone.
It is important to understand that it takes 6 weeks to 6 months for infection to be detected in an exposed person. Specifically, results will not be accurate for the previous six months. So, if exposure to HIV/AIDS occurred last night, last week, or last month, an HIV test today will probably not be 100% accurate for exposures during this time period. We encourage all sexually active students who feel they may have been exposed to be tested for HIV.
For more information, contact the National AIDS Hotline at 1-800-342-AIDS.