I just tested negative — now what?

Testing negative for HIV can be a huge relief. You have made an important choice to take care of yourself by getting tested, and you should be proud of your decision. There are several things you can do to keep protecting your health, now that you know you are negative.

Testing negative for HIV does not mean that you are immune to the virus, so it is important to keep protecting yourself. Don’t get discouraged or give up if you slip (by having unsafe sex or sharing needles). There are support services that can help you stick to your decision to stay safe.

Remember, it can take up to 6 months to test postive for HIV after being exposed. This is called the “window period.” To be completely sure that you do not have HIV, you should get tested again in 6 months, and continue to protect yourself during this time.

If you do not already see a doctor regularly, start now. It is always a good idea to have regular checkups, and your doctor will have a medical history of your health to refer to if you get sick.