An HIV test allows a person to find out if HIV is present in their body.
Before the test is performed, pre-counselling is given by a qualified HIV Counsellor to:
• inform the client concerning facts about HIV and AIDS
• to discuss how the client may have put him/herself at risk of contracting HIV
• to discuss the impact of the result
Once pre-counselling is given, the test for HIV is carried out. The test involves a simple needle prick on the finger so blood can be collected for the test. Rapid HIV tests are used at NAPPA clinics. This means the result can be given after approximately 15 minutes waiting time.
Following testing the client will receive his/her result, and this can be positive or negative. Positive means there is HIV present in the blood: negative means there is no HIV present at this particular time. Post test counselling is then given to all clients. This is very important to help the client discuss how they feel about their result, what support is available if the result is positive, or how to remain negative.
If the client tests positive for HIV, blood for a CD4 count will be taken by a Service Provider. CD4 count is a blood test that measures how far HIV has progressed in the body, and if treatment (anti-retrovirals - ARVs) is required.