If you have been tested for HIV and the result is negative and you never do things that might transmit HIV infection, then you and your health care provider can decide whether you need to get tested again.
HIV and AIDS: Are You at Risk?
CDC recommends that everyone know their HIV status. How often you should an HIV test depends on your circumstances. If you have never been tested for HIV, you should be tested.
CDC recommends being tested at least once a year if you do things that can transmit HIV infection, such as:
- injecting drugs or steroids with used injection equipment
- having sex for money or drugs
- having sex with an HIV infected person
- having more than one sex partner since your HIV test
- having a sex partner who has had other sex partners since your last HIV test.
How can I protect myself?
- Don’t share needles and syringes used to inject drugs, steroids, vitamins, or for tattooing or body piercing. Also, don’t share equipment ("works") used to prepare drugs to be injected. Many people have been infected with HIV, hepatitis, and other germs this way. Germs from an infected person can stay in a needle and then be injected directly into the next person who uses the needle.
- The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases is to abstain from sexual intercourse, or to be in a longterm mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and you know is uninfected.
- For persons whose sexual behaviors place them at risk for STDs, correct and consistent use of the male latex condom can reduce the risk of STD transmission. However, no protective method is 100 percent effective, and condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD. The more sex partners you have, the greater your chances are of getting HIV or other diseases passed through sex.
- Condoms used with a lubricant are less likely to break. However, condoms with the spermicide nonoxynol-9 are not recommended for STD/HIV prevention. Condoms must be used correctly and consistently to be effective and protective. Incorrect use can lead to condom slippage or breakage, thus diminishing the protective effect. Inconsistent use, e.g., failure to use condoms with every act of intercourse, can result in STD transmission because transmission can occur with a single act of intercourse.
- Don’t share razors or toothbrushes because of they may have the blood of another person on them.
- If you are pregnant or think you might be soon, talk to a doctor or your local health department about being tested for HIV. If you share HIV, drug treatments are available to help you and they can reduce the chance of passing HIV to your baby.
How can I find out more about HIV and AIDS?
You can call CDC-INFO at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636); TTY access 1-888-232-6348. CDC-INFO is staffed with people trained to answer your questions about HIV and AIDS in a prompt and confidential manner in English or Spanish, 8A-8P (EST) M-F. Closed weekends and major federal holidays. Staff at CDC-INFO can offer you a wide variety of written materials and put you in touch with organizations in your area that deal with HIV and AIDS.