Get tested for HIV
Get tested for HIV
Image: NACC

It's a fact that HIV & AIDS continues to be a major global public health issue, claiming almost 33 million lives so far. However, with increasing access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, including for opportunistic infections, HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives.

There is no known cure for HIV infection but effective antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) can control the virus and help prevent onward transmission to other people.According to WHO, at the end of 2019, an estimated 81% of people living with HIV knew their status. 67% were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 59% had achieved suppression of the HIV virus with no risk of infecting others.

According to the National aids Control Council, 66 adolescents and young people get newly infected wit the HIV virus everyday in Kenya. 12 young people die everyday from AIDS related causes.

Quick reminder

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This is the virus that causes AIDS. The virus attacks the body’s immune system, and makes it hard for the body to fight off diseases and infections. Treatment is available and recommended for everyone with HIV. With early diagnosis and effective antiretroviral treatment, people with HIV canlive a normal, healthy life.

AIDS stands for: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. If HIV is left untreated, the HIV virus will severely damage the immune system.

Get tested

HIV can be diagnosed through rapid diagnostic tests that can provide same-day results. HIV self-tests are increasingly available and provide an effective and acceptable alternative way to increase access to people who are not reached for HIV testing through facility-based services. Rapid test and self-tests have greatly facilitated diagnosis and linkage with treatment and care.

The symptoms of HIV vary, depending on the individual and what stage of the disease you are in: the early stage, the clinical latency stage, or AIDS (the late stage of HIV infection). Some people may experience a flu-like illness within 2-4 weeks after HIV infection. But some people may not feel sick during this stage.

Flu-like symptoms can include: Fever, Chills, Rash, Night sweats, Muscle aches, Sore throat, Fatigue, Swollen lymph nodes, Mouth ulcers. Ministry of Health advises that one goes for HIV test in order to ascertain his/her HIV status.

I am afraid to take HIV test what can I do?

It is normal to get anxious about receiving HIV test results. It takes a few minutes to get the results. It’s also the only way to know for sure whether or not you have been infected.

It’s better to know: It’s normal to feel worried about HIV. But why let yourself fear the unknown? Testing early for HIV can help put your mind at ease and reduce the anxiety of not knowing. Whether your result is negative, or positive, it’s always better to know so that you can move on with your life, or start treatment if necessary. And remember, your result may not be what you expect.

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