can HIV be tested?
countries have special facilities where anyone can go
and have a blood test for HIV.
blood test is like a snap shot of a person's status
at that moment. More than one test may be needed to
determine whether a person is HIV positive.
who think they may have HIV have to consider
carefully whether or not they wish to be tested and
should receive counselling beforehand to help them weigh
the advantages and disadvantages.
The test should be completely confidential and people
should also receive counselling when they get the results
to help them cope with the situation and make plans
if they are HIV positive.
example, they need to decide who they should tell, and
how to do so.
advantages of people finding out they are HIV
can get help as soon as they feel ill for any reason;
they can make sure they don't pass HIV on to anybody
can help to keep their immune system strong by eating
healthy food and cutting down on smoking and alcohol;
can make informed decisions about sexual relationships
they can make plans about how their dependents, children
and families, will be looked after when they do become
can gain help and support from other people; and
they can change peoples' attitudes and behaviour by
talking about their HIV status
disadvantages of people finding they are HIV positive
Evans reports from Tanzania on a testing programme
especially designed for women.
may be unable to cope psychologically and become depressed
and even suicidal; and
other people find out, they and their families may
suffer prejudice and discrimination, be thrown out
of the house or community, or sacked from their workplace.
The audio used in this site was originally
broadcast on BBC World Service radio as part of the
series Surviving AIDs produced by the BBC's African