The benefits of knowing your HIV status

Knowing your HIV status allows you to make informed decisions about HIV prevention, treatment and care that will affect both HIV transmission and your long-term health and survival. HIV is not AIDS and it is not a death sentence. HIV is now simple and safe to treat, and treatment is available everywhere. Knowing your status means you can live a long and productive life, even if your status is HIV positive.

Can you test for HIV and AIDS?

Yes, you can get tested for HIV; but there is no such thing as an ‘AIDS test’. AIDS is simply a term which refers to a certain level of advanced HIV disease progression, which nowadays usually only happens if HIV is not tested for or is left untreated for some time.

Who should have an HIV test?

Anyone who is sexually active should regularly check for HIV

If you have recently had sex without a condom, and you experience severe flu-like symptoms (sore throat and fever) plus a rash on your chest, these could be symptoms of recent HIV infection and you should get tested as soon as possible.

Couples and partners
Couples and partners should consider HIV testing services with counselling support for mutual disclosure if testing together.

Specific groups/Sexual minorities
Some groups of people – anyone who is sexually active, people who inject drugs, sex workers and transgendered people – continue to have limited access to health services, including HIV testing services.

Some of these groups experience particularly high stigmatisation and HIV incidence. Self-testing may work for them.

Pregnant women
HIV testing as early as possible during pregnancy enables pregnant women to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to their baby. Positive couples can have HIV negative babies.


Reference: WHO Consolidated guidelines on HIV testing services July 2015