Being diagnosed as “HIV-positive” means that you have been exposed to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and that two HIV tests—a preliminary enzyme immunoassay (EIA) test and a confirmatory Western blot test—have both come back positive for antibodies to HIV.
Being HIV-positive means that it is possible for you to pass the virus along to others, including your sexual partners. If you are female, you could also pass it along to your unborn child.
Once you have been infected with HIV, you will always carry it in your body. There is no cure for HIV. It is a serious, infectious disease that can lead to death if it isn’t treated. But many scientific and technological advances have made HIV a chronic manageable disease. Many people with HIV lead healthy, happy, and productive lives and learn how to cope with the disease.
This is why it is so important to know your HIV status. Knowing that you are HIV-positive gives you the ability to protect your own health and the health of your partners and children.
Being HIV-positive does NOT mean you have AIDS. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV disease. Proper treatment can keep you from developing AIDS.
For more information, see NIAID’s Diagnosis of HIV.