HIV test

Good reasons for an HIV test

A negative HIV test puts a stop to unnecessary worrying. However, if you are infected, there are major health benefits if the infection is identified on time. The right treatment can protect the immune system against the virus as well as complications. Even if the HIV infection took place some time ago, it still makes sense to get tested – targeted treatment can restabilize the immune system even at a later date.

What is the test?

In the HIV test the blood is tested for antibodies against the virus. They form 3-6 weeks, but no more than 12 weeks after infection.

That's why the HIV test is only really meaningful three months after a possible infection. The test result is available after around five days and should be given in a private meeting.

If the tested blood contains no antibodies, then the test result is negative. If HIV antibodies are found in the blood, it is positive.

However, the final diagnosis of an existing HIV infection is only made if a second comprehensive test also comes back positive.

Where can you get tested?

An HIV test can be undertaken by your GP. In Germany, many health authorities also offer an anonymous HIV test with consultation.

In Hamburg, there are no tests at the health authority. The contact here is the CASA blanca - Centre for AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases - in Hamburg-Altona. The AIDS facilities and institutions for gay men also offer counselling interviews. You can find the addresses at www.aidshilfe.de.

What does an HIV test cost?

The test costs at a doctor's practice are generally between 25 and 50 euros. The health authorities often offer tests for a low fee or even for free. When pregnant, the costs are borne by the health insurance funds. For school pupils, those receiving welfare or unemployment benefits as well as students receiving student loans, the test is also often free of charge.

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