Getting Tested & Diagnosis

Positive Life offer a rapid testing service which provides indicative results from a saliva swab in just 20 minutes.
Please click here to find a FREE Pop-Up HIV testing clinic near you

The symptoms of HIV will vary from person to person and the only way to know your HIV status is to get a test. However, we do know that there are similarities with approximately 70-90% of people recently diagnosed with HIV experiencing early symptoms which occur about a week to ten days after HIV infection. These are the result of the body reacting to HIV infection.

The most common symptoms reported are severe flu-like symptoms, including a sore throat and fever, and a rash on the chest.

Other symptoms can include fatigue, nausea and diarrhoea and after two to three weeks these symptoms may disappear.

A person may then live for many years without any further symptoms or indications that they are HIV+. However, even though they may not experience any symptoms, they may still be able to transmit the virus to their sexual partners.

It is important to remember, that a HIV diagnosis is not the death sentence it was in the 1980s.

That said, when a person receives positive diagnosis it is life changing and it can be an extremely stressful time.

But with the developments in medication and support services that are available, people living with HIV can live full and healthy lives.

What should I do if experience symptoms of HIV?

If you have recently had sex without a condom or shared injecting needles or drug equipment and you experience symptoms of early HIV infection then you should have a HIV test.

Contact us to arrange a test or click here to locate your nearest Sexual Health Clinic

The short video below demonstrates a simple mouth swab HIV test.


Sharing a Diagnosis

Do I tell others?

Deciding on who else to tell is an important decision to make. The stigma which still surrounds HIV, particularly in Northern Ireland, can make the decision about who to tell, what to tell them, and when a very difficult one.

Positive Life can help by providing confidential help and support.

We can provide family members with an opportunity to meet and talk with others in a similar situation. However isolated you may feel, you are not alone. Many other people have been through and are going through similar experiences.




For Family and friends of someone living with HIV

How can I best help and support my loved one?

Your family member will need time to adjust to the diagnosis in the days, months and years to come, as do you. There is no right or wrong way to cope with the news. Some people may want to find out everything they can about HIV, while others may want to push it to the back of their back of their mind. These reactions are natural and normal – the most important thing is to give yourself time to adjust.

As a family member of someone living with HIV, you may want to give support to them. Such support may be in providing a listening ear, talking things over or simply letting the person know you are there for them. If they have a period of illness, it may also involve giving practical help.

While providing support can be valuable for both of you, it can also be stressful for you and make demands on your well-being. While your loved one’s needs may often seem more important, it is vital that you do not forget about your own.