1. How is aids diagnosed? 2. Is it through a blood test or do you have to get a specific illness and then you know you have aids? I had a exposure about 4 months ago and I feel like I have hiv that has already progressed to aids and I keep getting negative hiv tests. But if I have aids it's not going to show up on a hiv test so I don't know what to do. No one thinks its possible that I can have aids already but I feel like I do. I've had a negative hiv test at 3 months and before that but I still have tons of unexplained symptoms, so I think it's aids and I know it is not going to show on a hiv test so now what? Do I need to ask for a certain blood test? What should I do to know if I already have aids?
I need help!!!
Hi there, and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline forum,

You have some good questions about AIDS and HIV. I hope I am able to provide some information to you to make your situation more clear.

1. AIDS is usually diagnosed when a person either has a really low CD4 count or one or more opportunistic infections. A low CD4 count happens to people who have been living with AIDS for a long time and are unable to fight off infections. Someone living with HIV for a long time also is also more vulnerable to opportunistic infections which take the opportunity to infect a body that is not protected by a natural immune defense.

2. So in order to acquire AIDS, one must have acquired HIV and living with HIV for a long time. Testing is the only way to know if you have acquired HIV from a possible exposure.

You said you were exposed 4 months ago and your HIV test results have been negative since then. Official HIV testing guidelines suggest test results to be conclusive (most likely accurate) at three months (or 12 weeks).
So it actually is not possible for you to have AIDS if you have not even acquired HIV and if your test results are negative.

As for your symptoms, they are no way a definitive indicator that you have acquired HIV. HIV symptoms mirror other viral infections (like the flu). So testing is the only way to know if you have acquired HIV.
So I strongly encourage you to partner up with your doctor to talk about your symptoms. Your doctor would be the best guide for information on your symptoms.

I really hope I was able to bring some comfort to you. If you live in the BC area and still have further questions, please give our helpline a call! You can also visit our website for more information on HIV tests.

Jasmine (Volunteer)

AID Vancouver Helpline/Online

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