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> Pamphlet - “AIDS, Test Early, Treat Early, For Your Health, Get Tested"


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Printed version of pamphlet: AIDS, Test Early, Treat Early, For Your Health, Get TestedBefore you get an HIV antibody Test, you should know... What is AIDS?

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). After a person gets infected, the virus will gradually destroy the CD4 lymphocytes (a kind of white blood cells) in human body, lower the person's immunity, cause various opportunistic infections and tumours, and ultimately lead to death.

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV mainly resides in blood, semen and vaginal secretions. In Hong Kong, more than 70% of cases are infected through sexual contact (including vaginal sex, anal sex and oral sex). The rest are transmitted through sharing injection tools for drug taking, or transfusion of HIV-contaminated blood or blood products. Infected mothers can also transmit the virus to their babies during pregnancy, delivery and breast-feeding periods. Social contact such as shaking hands, hugging, kissing cheek, sharing meals, going to school or working together will not transmit HIV. No medical evidence has shown insect bites (e.g. mosquitoes) would transmit HIV.

What is HIV antibody test?

After you get infected with HIV, your immune system will start to produce antibodies to fight against it. HIV antibody test, by detecting antibodies, can diagnose whether you have been infected. A positive test result shows that you are infected, while a negative result shown after the window period means you are not infected.

What is Window Period?

Window period is the period between the moment you get infected with HIV and when the antibody test shows a positive result. The window period of HIV antibody test is 3 months. During that period, an infected person can transmit the virus to other people even though his HIV antibody test remains negative.

Should I have an HIV antibody test?

You need an HIV antibody test if either you or your sexual partner has ever got: 1) sexually transmitted infections, 2) unprotected sex, or 3) shared needles with somebody.

What is HIV antibody rapid test?

A conventional HIV test (blood taking from vein) takes around 1 week for the result, whereas rapid test (finger prick) only requires 20 minutes. Rapid test is therefore particularly useful in some point-of-care settings, e.g. for testing late-presenting pregnant women for emergency labour. The rapid test also helps improve the testing coverage of at-risk populations when being used in out-reach settings, e.g. gay saunas.

How is it performed?

Finger prick for blood taking

Finger prick for blood taking
Put the loop(with blood)into the test kit

Put the loop(with blood)into the test kit
Test result

Test result

Please note: Rapid test is only a screening test. Any positive rapid test result should be followed by confirmatory test of venous blood conducted by a laboratory.

What are the benefits of "early testing and early treatment" ?

A)For yourself

Some people refuse to test for HIV or receive any treatment because there is no cure for AIDS. The fact is that nowadays antiretroviral therapy can effectively suppress HIV, prevent opportunistic infections, and increase the survival rate. The treatment result is most prominent if a patient is diagnosed and treated early. Receiving treatment before the immune system is seriously damaged can effectively control the progress of the disease.

B)For your partners

Studies have proven beyond doubt that antiretroviral therapy can significantly prevent HIV transmission through sexual contact. Therefore, early HIV testing and treatment can benefit both you and your partners.

Important notes: To protect yourself and your sexual partners, please use condom properly whenever having sex, and do not share needles with anybody, whatever your HIV test result is.

Where can I seek for help?

If you have any question on AIDS, or wish to have an HIV antibody test, please call the AIDS Hotline: 2780-2211. The nurse counsellor can make an appointment for you. The testing service is free, anonymous and confidential.

Related information

AIDS Hotline of the Department of Health:〈852〉2780 2211
Department of Health website :
Virtual AIDS Office of Hong Kong:

Red Ribbon Centre

Tel: (852) 3143 7200

Produced by Red Ribbon Centre – UNAIDS Collaborating Centre for Technical Support, Hong Kong