What does a negative HIV result mean?
A negative HIV result means that the test did not detect the presence of the virus in your body. However, a negative result doesn’t necessarily mean that you didn’t contract HIV. This is mainly because of the window period – the duration that passes between exposure to the virus and when a test accurately detects HIV in the body.
Understanding a negative HIV result
A negative HIV result tells that you are free from HIV. However, this is not always the case. Consider the facts and measures below:
- If you get tested after a potential exposure to the virus, and the result is negative, you need to get an HIV test again after the window period.
- If you get tested after the window period without the possibility of viral exposure, and the result is negative, you do not have the infection or HIV.
How to prevent HIV acquisition?
If you get a concrete HIV-negative result, it means you do not have HIV. However, to ensure that you will not acquire the infection later in your life, you must follow certain measures to keep safe and protected.
- Use condoms. One of the most effective protective barriers is condoms. Use this tool when having sex. Besides HIV, condoms can prevent other STDs from transmitting.
- Avoid sharing needles. If you use injectable drugs, avoid sharing the needle or syringe with other people. Failure to follow this measure can lead to HIV transmission, especially if the one using the needles has HIV and the equipment becomes contaminated with the virus.
- Avoid having multiple sexual partners. Having multiple sexual partners increases your risk of HIV acquisition. You cannot be so sure if the person you are having sex with is safe or not.
- Take PrEP. Due to the advancement in the medical field, preventing HIV acquisition is possible. It involves the use of PrEP medication or pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is a daily oral medication that prevents the contract of HIV during sexual encounters or using injectable drugs.
- Take PEP. Besides PrEP, PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is also available. It is an emergency medication that you can take if you suspect potential HIV exposure. Ask your doctor about this medication before availing of it.
- Get tested regularly. HIV awareness is essential in keeping the infection at bay. It involves getting tested regularly to know your status. Besides HIV, you also need to know your status with other STDs. Early detection of any STD helps in managing them and providing immediate medical care.