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If I test positive, does that mean that I will die?

Testing positive for HIV means that you now carry the virus that causes AIDS. It does not mean that you have AIDS, nor does it mean that you will die. Although there is no cure for AIDS, many opportunistic infections that make people sick can be controlled, prevented or eliminated. This has substantially increased the longevity and quality of life for people living with AIDS.
(Source: San Francisco AIDS Foundation)

If I test HIV negative does that mean that my partner is HIV negative also?

No. Your HIV test result reveals only your HIV status. Your negative test result does not tell you about the HIV status of your partner(s). HIV is not necessarily transmitted every time there is an exposure.

No one's test result can be used to determine another person's HIV status.    (Source: Centers for Disease Control - CDC)

I'm HIV positive. Where can I go for information about treatments?

The CDC National AIDS Hotline can offer practical information on maintaining health and general information about a wide variety of treatments, including antiretrovirals and prophylaxis for opportunistic infections. The hotline numbers are 1-800-342-2437 (English), 1-800-344-7432, (Spanish), or 1-888)-480-3739 (TTY). The CDC National AIDS Hotline can also provide referrals to national treatment hotlines, local AIDS Service Organizations and HIV/AIDS-knowledgea ble physicians.

Detailed information on specific treatments is available from the HIV/AIDS Treatment Information Service (ATIS) at 1-800-448-0440. Information on enrolling in clinical trials can be obtained from the AIDS Clinical Trials Information Service at 1-800-874-2572 (English and Spanish) and 1-888-480-3739 (TTY).     (Source: Centers for Disease Control - CDC)

Is there anything I can do to stay healthy?

The short answer is yes. There are things that you can do to stay healthy.

Emotional support may be very important for HIV-positive people because it breaks the isolation and provides a safe way of sharing both feelings and practical information.

Medical Care: Once you find a doctor or clinic, your main objective is to get an evaluation of your general health and immune function.

Many doctors do the following:

    * Administer lab tests to evaluate your immune system.
    * Determine if you have other diseases that might become problematic in the future, including syphilis, TB, hepatitis-B, and toxoplasmosis.

If you are already infected with one or more of these other illnesses, there may be treatments or prophylaxis available to prevent it from becoming more serious or recurring in the future. If you're not already infected, doctors may be able to prevent future infection by:

    * Administering vaccines. Many HIV positive people get a hepatitis-B vaccine and bacterial pneumonia vaccines, since contracting these diseases could be dangerous for immune suppressed people.
    * Prescribing antiviral treatments and protease inhibitors when tests show immune system impairment.
    * Scheduling regular checkups. Checkups may be scheduled every three to six months. Some people need more frequent check-ups, particularly when they are starting new antiviral drugs.

(Source: San Francisco AIDS Foundation)

How safe is the U.S. blood supply?

The U.S. blood supply is among the safest in the world. Nearly all people infected with HIV through blood transfusions received those transfusions before 1985, the year it became possible to test donated blood for HIV.

The Public Health Service has recommended a multifaceted approach to blood safety in the United States that includes stringent donor selection practices and the use of screening tests. Blood donations in the United States have been screened for antibody to HIV-1 since March 1985 and HIV-2 since June 1992. Blood and blood products that test positive for HIV are safely discarded and are not used for transfusion

An estimated one in 450,000 to one in 660,000 donations per year are infectious for HIV but are not detected by current antibody screening tests. In August of 1995 the FDA recommended that all donated blood and plasma also be screened for HIV-1 p24 antigen. Donor screening for p24 antigen is expected to reduce the number of otherwise undetected infectious donations by approximately 25 percent per year. The improvement of processing methods for blood products has also reduced the number of infections resulting in the use of these products. Currently the risk of infection with HIV in the United States through receiving a blood transfusion or through the use of blood products is extremely rare and has become progressively more infrequent, even in areas with high HIV prevalence rates.     (Source: Centers for Disease Control - CDC)

Do the new drugs I hear about cure you?

The new drugs you are referring to are a class of anti-HIV drugs known as protease inhibitors. There is NO cure for AIDS, but these drugs are helping to prolong the lives of many people with AIDS and delaying the onset of AIDS in many people with HIV. You should consult your own health care provider surrounding treatment issues. There is no standard treatment for everyone. Your health care provider will discuss your individual options.    (Source: Centers for Disease Control - CDC)

Where can I get printed materials for my school project or organization?

The CDC National AIDS Hotline can help you with requests for printed materials. Call them and tell them who you are and what you need. If you are doing a school project, tell them. If you are giving a presentation to some other kind of group, tell them that. The more they know about what you need, the better they can help you. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year toll-free at (800) 342-2437.    (Source: AIDS.ORG)

I still have more questions. Can I talk to someone?

You most certainly can! You can call the CDC National AIDS Hotline at (800) 342-2437 anytime, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.    They are there to help you with your questions, to provide you with further information, and to listen. Additionally, most states also provide their own state AIDS hotlines - although their hours of operation may vary. Click here for our listing of available state AIDS hotlines.    (Source: AIDS.ORG)

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