If you ask a friend this question randomly, what will probably happen is banter about how you had unprotected sex. This write-up will not make light of your concern but will seek to settle your mind while telling you everything you need to know.


You hear people call it HIV/AIDS. What do those mean? Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection is an infection of human lymphocytes (types of white blood cells) and other organs caused by a retrovirus, HIV. Sexual intercourse, needle injections, transfusions, trans-placental or trans-vaginal routes, breast milk or other direct contact with infected human body fluids transmit the virus from human to human.


Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), however, results from late-stage HIV infection and immunosuppression, with reduced numbers and function to T-lymphocytes.


It is then important that you know the risk factors for this condition.  People who are at high risk of acquiring HIV are those who have unprotected sex with an infected partner, commercial sex workers and men who have sex with men with or without other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some STIs may increase HIV transmission. Others at risk include people who inject drugs (PWID), recipients of unscreened blood products and neonates born to HIV-infected mothers.


The last three paragraphs gave us a chance to educate you about this epidemic. If you skimmed over, read them again. The frequency of HIV testing is unique to each individual as you know if you have these risk factors or have unprotected sex with those you are not sure of their HIV status. However, if you carried out an act that you think predisposes you to HIV, checking your HIV status immediately after is futile. Yes, it is.


You see, the incubation period is about 18 to 90 days, which means checking after a month and then after three months is a better answer to when to check your HIV status after a predisposing act e.g. unprotected genital meet and greet.


Moreover, people between 13 to 64 years are generally advised to check with their typical routine care and for those at higher risk once every year. And if you are asking where to do the test in Nigeria, we are fairly lucky, walk into any public health facility and you can get it done for little to no amount.


Wrap it up, instead of making yourself high risk, reduce your risk of HIV infection and enjoy life. If you check and it is positive, hope is not lost, go to the nearest public hospital and start medications to help you live a healthy and full life.

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