FAQ

WHAT DOES CONFIDENTIAL TESTING MEAN?

Confidential testing refers to HIV antibody testing services in which personal identifiers are known to persons providing the services, and positive results are reported to the Hawaii State Department of Health in accordance with state reporting requirements. To ensure confidentiality, completed HIV forms and results are always kept in a locked file.

All staff involved in HIV testing and counseling activities with access to testing results and counseling information are required to sign a confidentiality statement acknowledging the legal requirements under state and federal law not to disclose HIV/AIDS information.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIV AND AIDS?

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

H – Human: because this virus can only infect human beings.
I – Immuno-deficiency: because the effect of the virus is to create a deficiency, a failure to work properly, within the body’s immune system.
V – Virus: because this organism is a virus, which means one of its characteristics is that it is incapable of reproducing by itself. It reproduces by taking over the machinery of the human cell.
A – Acquired: because it’s a condition one must acquire or get infected with; not something transmitted through the genes
I – Immune: because it affects the body’s immune system, the part of the body which usually works to fight off germs such as bacteria and viruses
D – Deficiency: because it makes the immune system deficient (makes it not work properly)
S – Syndrome: because someone with AIDS may experience a wide range of different diseases and opportunistic infections

HOW LONG AFTER A POSSIBLE EXPOSURE SHOULD I BE TESTED FOR HIV?

The time it takes for a person who has been infected with HIV to seroconvert (test positive) for HIV antibodies is commonly called the “Window Period“.
Recent studies show that a test taken at least 12 weeks (3 months) after the last possible exposure to the virus provides highly accurate results. Based on those studies, many testing clinics in California and other places use a 3 month window period. Very, very rarely, a person could take six months to produce antibodies. MAF uses a 3-6 month window period.

WHAT DO THE TEST RESULTS MEAN?

A positive result means:

  • You are HIV-positive (carrying the virus that causes AIDS).
  • You can infect others and should try to implement precautions to prevent doing so.

A negative result means:

  • No antibodies were found in your blood at this time.

A negative result does NOT mean:

  • You are not infected with HIV (if you are still in the window period).
  • You are immune to AIDS.
  • You have a resistance to infection.
  • You will never get AIDS.

I’M INTERESTED IN GETTING ON PREP. HOW LONG AFTER TAKING IT WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE?

It takes approximately 7 days before PrEP becomes effective. Make sure that you take it every day for best results.

WHAT ARE WAYS TO STAY HIV NEGATIVE?

  • Use condoms
  • Get tested every 6 months
  • Use water based lubrication
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs as they impair your judgment
  • Emergency situations: Take Pre-exposure prophylaxis aka PEP (must start before 72 hours of exposure)
  • Get on PrEP (daily)
  • Mutual masturbation
  • Use sterile equipment when using injection drugs.
  • Seropositioning: when the HIV partner is the receptive partner during intercourse, as the insertive partner carries the lowest risk