If someone suspects that they may be infected, it is called a so-called zero test. For now, he will not show whether the person has contracted HIV, but will confirm whether he was healthy before the risky relationship, Shunnar explained. They take another test in one month, and according to the doctor, antibodies are formed in the body for about 18 days to two months. It can rarely be half a year. The last third test is then repeated in a month.
In the last three years, the number of HIV infections in Slovakia has increased at a record high. Despite the declining global trend, the number of people living with HIV in Slovakia is growing. Shunnar also attributes this to ignorance. “Many people are not interested in this topic and do not know their HIV status, they are not familiar with the possibilities of diagnosis and treatment, so they are still at the center of the infection.”
Usually, two to four weeks after infection, flu-like symptoms appear, which subside after a few days. Fever or swollen nodules also occur. Usually, the symptoms do not lead to a suspicion of HIV infection. Within a maximum of half a year, the symptoms usually disappear, then the infection can last for years without symptoms. People don’t need to know about HIV.
This is also the case with Dalibor, who learned the diagnosis two years ago by accidentally taking blood. Nevertheless, she lives a full life, has a partner who is informed about everything and fully supports him. “There was nothing crucial to hide. I talk openly about everything with friends and family and they are a great support to me.” he said.
Progress has been made in the treatment of HIV. It is still an incurable disease, but giving medications can slow down the body’s immune system. HIV can be combated through a combination of condom use, pre-exposure treatment, testing, and combination antiretroviral therapy. It delays the onset of clinical symptoms of the disease, reduces the viral load and contributes to strengthening the immune system. Adherence to a treatment regimen can reduce the risk of transmission by 96 percent.
HIV testing is available to everyone in Slovakia. Investigations can be carried out at the National Reference Center for HIV / AIDS Prevention in Bratislava and at regional public health offices. Checkpoint also operates in Ružinov, Bratislava. You can also consult them on the toll-free line 0800 666777.