AIDS/HIV Fact or Fraud #3

Blog #3

Types of tests/ what happens to people with the HIV/AIDS?

     The most common HIV tests use blood to detect HIV infection. Some blood tests take a few days for results, but rapid HIV tests can give results in about 20 minutes. All HIV blood tests that come out positive have to be double-checked using that same blood sample. The results to the second test can take a few days to a few weeks to get back to the person. Another type of test that is used for HIV tests are Oral Fluid Tests, which use oral fluid (not saliva) that is collected from the mouth using a special collection device. This is an EIA antibody test similar to the standard blood EIA test. A follow-up confirmatory Western Blot uses the same oral fluid sample. One other HIV test is the urine test. The sensitivity and accuracy of these tests are kind of less used than the blood and oral fluid tests. This is also an EIA antibody test similar to blood EIA tests and requires a follow-up confirmatory Western Blot using the same urine sample.

     As the disease progresses, symptoms may appear or get worse. Some people who have HIV do not begin experiencing symptoms for up to 10 years. When symptoms do appear, they can include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes (lymph glands)
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unplanned weight loss


After being infected with HIV, your body works hard to attack the virus. With your body fighting, the virus can't make as many copies of itself. Even though you still have HIV, you'll begin to look well and feel well again. However, during this time, the virus is still attacking your lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are the centers of your body's immune system. The virus may also attack your brain tissue and slowly cause damage there. Over 10 to 15 years, HIV kills so many CD4 cells that your body can no longer fight off infections. When your CD4 cell count is 200 or less per mL, you have AIDS (a normal count is 600 to 1000). Once you have AIDS, you can easily catch many serious infections.