How do I know if I have HIV?

The only way to know if you are infected with HIV is to be tested. You cannot rely on symptoms to know whether you have HIV. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all for 10 years or more. Some people who are infected with HIV report having flu-like symptoms 2 to 4 weeks after exposure.

These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. During this time, HIV infection may not show up on an HIV test, but people who have it are highly infectious and can spread the infection to others.

Two types of home testing kits are available in most drugstores or pharmacies: one involves pricking your finger for a blood sample, sending the sample to a laboratory, then phoning in for results. The other involves getting a swab of fluid from your mouth, using the kit to test it, and reading the results in 20 minutes. Confidential counseling and referrals for treatment are available with both kinds of home tests.

If you test positive for HIV, you should contact Butte County Public Health Department as soon as possible to be linked to local resources and medical care.

Show All Answers

1. What is HIV / AIDS?
2. How is HIV spread?
3. How do I know if I have HIV?
4. What can I do to protect myself?
5. Where can I get tested?