The only way to determine for sure whether someone is infected is to be tested for HIV infection. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms for many years. The tests commonly used detect antibodies produced by the body to fight HIV. Most people will develop detectable antibodies within 3 months after infection, with the average being 25 days; in rare cases, it can take up to 6 months.
Many women in care are not routinely screened for HIV. Since women of color are less likely to receive regular health care, they are also even less likely to be tested for HIV.
HIV testing and counseling provides an opportunity for women to find out whether they are infected and gain access to medical treatment that may help to delay disease progression. For infected pregnant women, it may provide a viable opportunity to access treatment to prevent transmission of HIV to their child. For women who are not infected, HIV counseling offers an opportunity to learn important prevention information.
SEE ALSO: African American, Condoms, Discrimination, Heroin, Homosexuality, Latinos, Lubricants, Preventive care, Safer sex, Sexually transmitted diseases, Substance use
Category: Acquired immunodeficiency Syndrome