The HIV treatment center of the Jan van Goyen Medical Center offers an anonymous rapid HIV test every day. The HIV treatment team started this initiative to encourage people who are at risk for HIV to get tested. Appointments can be made between 8.30am and 3pm. You can contact the Internal Medicine secretariat on telephone number 020 – 3055 895. They can be reached between 08:30 and 17:00. The test takes 20 minutes and you will receive the result immediately. The cost of the test is €25 and will be paid in cash. People in the risk group can also be vaccinated against hepatitis B free of charge.
WHAT IS HIV?
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system. The virus destroys the white blood cells that help the body fight infection and disease. The HIV virus is found in semen and pre-cum, vaginal fluid, blood and breast milk. The HIV virus is mainly contracted or transmitted through unsafe handling of blood and semen. HIV is treatable with medication, but not curable. If treatment is not forthcoming, the infected person eventually develops AIDS.
SYMPTOMS AND COMPLAINTS OF HIV
HIV has different stages. A few weeks after being infected with the virus, flu-like symptoms may develop, such as headache, swelling of the lymph nodes and muscle aches. Later on, symptoms may include dry cough, skin patches, pneumonia, yeast infections in the mouth, weight loss with no apparent cause, memory loss, depression, and other neurological disorders.
WHY TEST FOR HIV?
Many people find it exciting to have an HIV test done. This is understandable given the seriousness of the HIV virus. However, it is strongly recommended that you get tested if you have run the risk of being infected. An HIV test is the only way to find out if you are infected with the virus. And the sooner the diagnosis is made, the sooner treatment can be started. By having yourself tested in time and starting treatment immediately, you keep your immune system intact as much as possible. If you know that you are HIV positive, you can also ensure that you do not transmit the HIV virus to others.
FOR THE RESEARCH
Before the test, the nurse will ask you a number of questions to estimate the risk of infection. Remember that an HIV test only makes sense if the risk moment took place three months ago or earlier. This is because it takes a few weeks to see whether someone is HIV positive. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions.
During the test, the doctor or nurse will take blood from you by means of a finger prick. Your blood is then tested for the presence of antibodies produced by the body when it is infected with the HIV virus.
The result of the test is known within 20 minutes. The result is discussed with the doctor. The doctor has a duty of confidentiality, he or she is not allowed to tell others about the results. If the test is positive, the virus is in the blood.
If the test is negative, the HIV virus is not present. If the test is positive, a second test will be done to determine whether you are indeed infected with the HIV virus.