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Aids by sean rossYou can get tested for HIV in a number of locations -- including public clinics AIDS organizations physicians offices and hospitals Many locations give the test for free You can choose between anonymous tests in which you do not give your name to the HealthCare provider or confidential tests in which you do give your name Test sites should provide trained counselors who can offer you support and guidance no matter what the test resultBalch-97An HIV test looks for the antibodies your immune system creates in response to the virus These antibodies may not appear in your blood until three to six months after HIV infection Therefore a negative test for HIV does not necessarily mean you arent infected Thats why if you are at risk for HIV infection you should get tested periodically in addition to practicing safer sex at all timesIf you test HIV-positive you should have frequent blood tests to determine the levels of healthy T cells These cell counts help indicate how quickly the infection is progressing and which course of treatment is best Normal T-cell count is 800 to 1300 cells per cubic millimeter of blood In the firstfew months after HIV infection T-cells may decrease to 400 to 650 As infection progresses T cells drop to a second level of 200 to 499 At this stage you can expect to have late symptoms although this too is variable The most life-threatening AIDS illnesses happen when T-cell levels fall below 200Berkow-97Once HIV enters your body -- through semen vaginal secretions blood or human breast milk -- it generally takes a month or two before creating symptoms if any not everyone has symptoms at this stage These initial symptoms are similar to the flu and can last three to 14 days -Swollen lymph nodes immune system organsWithin the several months following HIV infection you may have repeated episodes of these flu-like symptoms After that an average period
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