a. In order to detect HIV, a follow-up test is necessary 3, 6 and 12 months following a potential HIV exposure. HIV has a “window period”, which is the interval between an initial HIV infection and the first time the virus could be detected. The HIV window period can last from several days up to several weeks during which standard tests may not detect the virus. It is important to do follow-up tests in order to determine if the person contracted HIV. HIV is also a chronic disease, so it can stay in the body and not cause symptoms for a very long time. Following-up tests can help detect HIV early, allowing for treatment and intervention if needed.
b. It is also important to assess the client’s exposure to HIV.
- Assessment of his HIV-related risk factors such as sexual history, drug usage, and exposure to infectious bodily fluids.
- Education on HIV prevention and risk reduction, including condom usage, Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, and harm reduction for drug users.
- Assessing the client’s mental health and well-being, as a positive test result can be stressful and emotionally challenging.
- Information about support and resources, including counseling, support groups and medical treatment, can help clients manage their risk and deal with a potential diagnosis.