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Most people can not tell that they have been exposed or infected. If you have put yourself of risk of HIV and have been infected, the HIV test won't be able to confirm that you have been infected until around 6-12 weeks after the infection.
Although the HIV test will not show that you are infected straight after exposure, you might have flu-like symptoms such as fever, swollen glands, muscle aches, or rash. Look out for these types of symptoms if you have put yourself at risk of HIV infection.
The only way to know for sure if you are infected is take an HIV test. If you are infected, your immune system will make antibodies to fight the virus. The HIV test looks for these antibodies. If you have them in your blood, it means that you have HIV infection.
It is estimated that more than 25% of HIV+ people are unaware of their HIV status. Many of these people look and feel healthy and do not think they are at risk. You should be tested if:
If you test HIV+ there are effective medications to help you stay well. But you cannot get the health care and treatment you need if you do not know your HIV status. Being unaware of your status also makes it more likely to unknowingly pass HIV to others.
If you test HIV- you can take steps to stay that way. You can also spare yourself unnecessary worrying.
If you have symptoms you should get yourself tested to avoid infection developing and from transferring it to someone else.