Could I have HIV?

How do I know if I have HIV or AIDS?
You might have HIV and still feel perfectly healthy. The only way to know for sure if you are infected or not is to be tested. Talk with a knowledgeable health care provider or counselor both before and after you are tested. You can go to your doctor or health department for testing.

To be tested at ACR Health in Syracuse or Utica call 1.800.475.2430 during business hours.

To find out where to go in your area for HIV counseling and testing, call your local health department or the CDC INFO, at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636). 

Your doctor or health care provider can give you a confidential HIV test. The information on your HIV test and test results are confidential, as is your other medical information. This means it can be shared only with people authorized to see your medical records. You can ask your doctor, health care provider, or HIV counselor at the place you are tested to explain who can obtain this information. For example, you may want to ask whether your insurance company could find out your HIV status if you make a claim for health insurance benefits or apply for life insurance or disability insurance.

CDC recommends that everyone know their HIV status. How often you should an HIV test depends on your circumstances. If you have never been tested for HIV, you should be tested. CDC recommends being tested at least once a year if you do things that can transmit HIV infection, such as:

  • injecting drugs or steroids with used injection equipment
  • having sex for money or drugs
  • having sex with an HIV infected person
  • having more than one sex partner since your HIV test
  • having a sex partner who has had other sex partners since your last HIV test.

In many states, you can be tested anonymously. These tests are usually given at special places known as anonymous testing sites. When you get an anonymous HIV test, the testing site records only a number or code with the test result, not your name. A counselor gives you this number at the time your blood, saliva, or urine is taken for the test, then you return to the testing site (or perhaps call the testing site, for example with home collection kits) and give them your number or code to learn the results of your test.

If you have been tested for HIV and the result is negative and you never do things that might transmit HIV infection, then you and your health care provider can decide whether you need to get tested again.

You are more likely to test positive for (be infected with) HIV if you:
Have ever shared injection drug needles and syringes or "works."
Have ever had sex without a condom with someone who had HIV.
Have ever had a sexually transmitted disease, like chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Received a blood transfusion or a blood clotting factor between 1978 and 1985. Have ever had sex with someone who has done any of those things

What can I do if the test shows I have HIV?
Although HIV is a very serious infection, many people with HIV and AIDS are living longer, healthier lives today, thanks to new and effective treatments. It is very important to make sure you have a doctor who knows how to treat HIV. If you don’t know which doctor to use, talk with a health care professional or trained HIV counselor. If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, this is especially important.

There also are other things you can do for yourself to stay healthy. Here are a few: Follow your doctor’s instructions. Keep your appointments. Your doctor may prescribe medicine for you. Take the medicine just the way he or she tells you to because taking only some of your medicine gives your HIV infection more chance to grow. 
Get immunizations (shots) to prevent infections such as pneumonia and flu. Your doctor will tell you when to get these shots.
If you smoke or if you use drugs not prescribed by your doctor, quit.
Eat healthy foods. This will help keep you strong, keep your energy and weight up, and help your body protect itself.
Exercise regularly to stay strong and fit.
Get enough sleep and rest. 

How can I find out more about HIV and AIDS?
You can call CDC-INFO at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636); TTY access 1-888-232-6348. CDC-INFO is staffed with people trained to answer your questions about HIV and AIDS in a prompt and confidential manner in English or Spanish, 24 hours per day. Staff at CDC-INFO can offer you a wide variety of written materials and put you in touch with organizations in your area that deal with HIV and AIDS.

On the Internet, you can get information on HIV and AIDS from or


African Americans and Latinos are significantly more likely to report having been tested for HIV than whites.