HIV Testing FAQs

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Read on to know how you can prepare for your LoveYourself HIV test, when testing is available, what you need to do if you test positive for HIV, and other clarifications and concerns. We hope these accurate information and clear instructions will help improve your HIV testing and treatment experience.

What preparations are needed before the testing?

Just bring yourself to the clinic for testing. Blood extraction will be performed, but unlike the usual blood tests, fasting is not required.

How long does it take to get the results?

Once the blood sample has been extracted from you, it will take 2-3 hours before you can get your results. The counselor will call your attention once the results are available, and then the post-test counseling shall take place.

What are the symptoms of HIV infection?

HIV infection can be asymptomatic. This means that you may feel perfectly healthy even if you have already been infected. The only way to know with absolute assurance that you have contracted the virus is to undergo HIV testing.

Is the clinic closed on holidays?

Yes. The clinic is by default closed on regular holidays, unless otherwise announced. Please feel free to contact your guides for clinic schedule.

Is testing for chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) free as well?

Only HIV testing, as well as Syphilis and Hepatitis B testing are free. For other sexually transmitted infections, you may contact Victoria by LoveYourself at +639158318715

I just underwent complete blood count (CBC), blood chem and urinalysis tests. The results are all normal. Does it mean I'm HIV negative?

No. The HIV test involves a special procedure that is different from other blood tests.

I had myself tested for HIV and the result is non-reactive, but my last risky sexual encounter was just weeks ago. Does this mean I am not infected?

No, not necessarily. It takes from 3-6 months for HIV to get detected in the blood. What is recommended is that you undergo regular testing every 6 months. So as long as you are sexually active, come back 6 months after your last test to keep your health in check.

Can I just ask my counselor to text me the results of my HIV test?
No, pre-test and post-test counseling are required in HIV testing as per the Philippine law, specifically RA 8504 (Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998).

If I test positive, does that mean I will die?

Testing positive for HIV means that you now carry the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. It does not mean that you have AIDS, nor does it mean that you will die as a result of the infection. Although there is no cure for AIDS, many opportunistic infections that make people sick can be controlled, prevented or eliminated. This has substantially increased the longevity and quality of life for people living with HIV.

What happens if I turned reactive to HIV?

If ever the result of your HIV test is reactive, your result will be sent to SACCL (STD-AIDS Cooperative Central Laboratory) in San Lazaro Hospital for confirmatory testing. Your counselor will orient you on the next steps and you will be referred to RITM-ARG in Alabang. But this does not usually happen on the same day as the testing, so there will be time for you to prepare.

Do I have to pay for anything when I’m in RITM-ARG in Alabang?

After your registration in RITM-ARG, you need to buy the Orange Patient Record sheet at the cashier near the ER for P125 then go back to ARG for further instructions.

Baseline Procedure in RITM Alabang (Updated Oct. 31, 2013)

  • Baseline tests in RITM Alabang include the following tests:
  • CD4 test
  • Chest X-ray
  • Sputum test
  • TB Skin test (a.k.a. Purified Protein Derivative or PPD test)
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
*CD4 tests only available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Clients enrolling for baseline tests in RITM Alabang should bring the following requirements:

1. One (1) of the following:
     a. Confirmatory result from the National Reference Laboratory - STD AIDS Cooperative Central Laboratory (NRL-SACCL); or
     b. Referral form coming from RITM Satellite Clinic/LoveYourself Hub, or other LoveYourself testing activities (Platinum, Diamond, LoveYourself Mass Testing Activities, Fratpad, etc
***For clients coming from the LoveYourself Platinum, Syphilis test and Hepatitis B test results shall also be submitted. You can have these tests done before going to RITM Alabang.

2. P125 for the hospital identification badge (Orange Card)
3. Black or blue ballpen to fill out forms

Recommended to Bring:
1. Lunch money or packed lunch. You are expected to finish the series of tests and consultation in the afternoon.
2. Book or Gadget for your boredom. ARG lounge has free Wi-Fi for your electronic gadgets.
3. Surgical mask/Hospital mask. This is to protect you from acquiring airborne infections

1. ARG clinic opens at 8:00 AM. Blood extraction for CD4 testing will be from 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM. Anyone who arrives after the cut-off may be requested to come back on another day.

2. Proceed to the Information Booth (main hospital) and purchase an orange card worth P125. (Bring exact amount since the cashier would most likely have no loose change that early in the morning.) Please ask for an official receipt. The information clerk will ask you to fill out your medical chart. All information will be held with utmost confidentiality.

3. Go to the ARG Clinic Information Desk and sign the registration/attendance sheet. You will be given a client number.

4. Proceed to room 2/Nurse’s Desk. Look for Nurse Nikka or Tricia. The nurse will provide you request forms for your baseline tests and PPD test.

5. Proceed to the Clinical Lab and submit your forms. Wait for your turn. The lab medical technologist shall extract a minimal amount of blood from you for your CBC and CD4 test.

6. Proceed to the Pharmacy. Present your PPD request form. You will be given a syringe with PPD .

7. Go back to the ARG clinic and give the PPD syringe to the nurse who will then administer the PPD test. The nurse will provide you sputum cups and instructions on sputum collection. He/she will provide you with request for chest x-ray.
Note: Your PPD test should be checked by a doctor after 48 hours. You can have it checked even by non-RITM doctors. Just present the form to the doctor, and the doctor will fill up the form with his interpretation of the test. Submit the form to ARG on your next visit.

8. Proceed to the waiting area. Wait for your number to be called.
Note: You will be given a PhilHealth orientation while waiting for your turn to be called for consultation.
Waiting time will depend on the number of clients for the day. Make sure to bring gadgets or articles to relieve boredom.

9. Once called, proceed to the Doctor’s clinic (door located beside the cashier/pharmacy).
Note: Listen carefully to all interpretations of the doctor especially on your CD4 count. Ask all questions that you can’t understand about your condition. We highly encourage you to jot down notes to help you remember important points especially on dietary restrictions, ARV intake and dosage, prophylaxis, etc.

10. After consultation, submit your sputum sample/samples (if available) to the Clinical lab.

11. Submit your request form to the X-ray room. Wait for your turn. The lab radiologist shall ask you to enter the X-ray room for your X-ray examination.

12. Before leaving, make sure you have the following information:
- CD4 count result;
- recommendation whether to take ARVs or just healthy living
- recommendation to take or not to take INH and co-trimoxazole prophylaxis
- schedule of next visit.

If you have questions and concerns, you may approach RITM ARG personnel at the information desk or LoveYourself counselors.

If I tested positive for HIV, do I need to take antiretroviral (ARV) drugs right away?

Antiretroviral drugs that help combat the virus are currently given for free if you need it, but usually there will be fees to pay for tests to determine the status of your health. The doctor will check on your laboratory results and evaluate your health status if you need to take antiretroviral drugs. Usually your CD4 count is checked which will then guide your HIV treatment. If your CD4 count reaches 350, doctors start ARV therapy. Your assigned counselor will be able to help you prepare through this whole process.

Where can I get tested?

You can check out our testing sites here. Also, we offer paid premium Platinum testing for people who do not want to be seen taking their HIV test in a center, clinic or hospital. Everything is mindfully prepared and ensured to be smooth-flowing for the most discreet and delicate clients.

There are also Social Hygiene Clinics in the metro and beyond. Please click here to see the full list and their contact numbers. Please contact your chosen clinic first before visiting.

Can I still get vaccinated even if I’m HIV-positive?

Immunizations are an important part of your HIV care plan because they can help protect you from serious illness. Your healthcare provider can help you decide which immunizations are right for you, based on your age and risk for contracting a specific illness.

What happens if I turn reactive to Hepatitis B screening?

If you are reactive to Hepatitis B, you should see your doctor who can refer to you to a specialist if needed.

What happens if I turn reactive to Syphilis?

The clinic nurse will get your mobile number and will set an appointment for your treatment. You will undergo once a week Penicillin-G injections for 3 consecutive weeks.

What is gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a negative bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum and throat. Individuals aged 15 to 24 years old, men who have sex men, and those who do not use condoms during sex are at more risk to get gonorrhea.

How is gonorrhea spread?

Gonorrhea can be spread through sexual contact (oral, anal, and vaginal) with a person who has gonorrhea. This can also be spread through mother to child during childbirth.

What are the signs and symptoms of gonorrhea?

There are times that a person with gonorrhea may not have any symptoms at all. If symptomatic, men can have:

  • painful urination;
  • a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis; and
  • painful or swollen testicles.

In women, the following symptoms can include:
vaginal discharge;

  • painful urination;
  • intermenstrual bleeding;
  • painful intercourse; and
  • mild lower abdominal pain.

How is gonorrhea treated?

If you suspect that you have gonorrhea, immediately consult a doctor. Self-medication should be avoided because wrong medication can harm you and it can make the infection more difficult to treat.

Most of the time, urine is used to test if you have gonorrhea. If you had any oral, anal or vaginal sexual contact, a swab (sample) from your genital, throat, and/or rectum will be collected and tested. Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics such as ceftriaxone, azithromycin or cefixime and it is usually given in a single dose. It is important to complete your antibiotics and take it at the right time. Another reminder is to avoid sexual contact until the medication is completed and the evaluation and treatment are done. When symptoms persist after treatment, go back to your doctor for further evaluation.

What are the complications of gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is curable but it can lead to serious complications if not treated properly. Complications of gonorrhea in men are sterility and inflammation of the testicles. In women, the complications are infertility, long term abdominal pain, and ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb). Rarely, gonorrhea can also spread to your blood and joints. Also, gonorrhea increases your risk to have HIV infection.

Where can you go for a consultation?

Consultation for the presence of gonorrhea or STIs can feel embarrassing. Centers run by LoveYourself ensure a safe space for you to feel at ease when opening up your concerns and receive feedback in a positive, non-judgmental way. We can also connect you to specialists who are readily available to assist and help you. Other than our centers, you may consult with other health care facilities such as social hygiene clinics, hospitals, and clinics near you.