Preliminary Positive FAQs

  • What does preliminary positive mean?

    A preliminary positive result means you may be infected with HIV. However, it is essential that you get a confirmatory test.

  • How accurate is the rapid HIV test?

    The rapid test is nearly 100% accurate in detecting HIV antibodies.

  • What is a confirmatory test?

    In order to confirm a preliminary positive test result for HIV, we need to complete a confirmatory test. Once the confirmatory test is completed, you will have your HIV test results.

  • How do I get a confirmatory test?

    You have several options for getting a confirmatory test for HIV. You may have already given a confirmatory test sample (another blood or oral fluid sample) after receiving your preliminary positive test result. If not, you can contact your personal health care provider or the health department in your county. For more information, go to: or call the Oregon HIV/STD Hotline at 1-800-777-2437.

  • If my confirmatory test is positive, does this mean I have AIDS?

    No, being HIV positive does not mean you have AIDS. It usually takes many years for untreated HIV to cause AIDS. In many instances individuals have lived with HIV for many years and have not developed AIDS.

  • Are there good treatments for HIV?

    Yes! There are excellent treatments available for HIV that will allow you to lead a healthy, productive life. It will be important to connect with a health care provider in order to assess your condition and work on a treatment plan.

  • What if I need help now and in the future?

    There are many resources available both now and in the future. Whether you need help with insurance issues, securing medical care, social support or other issues, there are people and places that can help. A great first step is to consult the Portland HIV Resource Guide available online at or call the Oregon HIV/STD Hotline at 1-800-777-2437.

  • What can I do to lower my risk of transmitting HIV to others?

    There are a variety of ways in which you can protect yourself and your partner(s) from HIV during sex. They include:

    • Use a latex condom every time you have sex.
    • If you're allergic to latex, use polyurethane condoms.
    • Use lots of water based lubricants for sex.
    • Use a condom or dental dam when you have oral sex.
    • Reduce the number of sex partners that you have.
    • Don't have sex while you're high on drugs or alcohol.
    • If you shoot drugs, don't share needles or equipment.
  • What if I need help talking to my sex partners about my HIV status?

    There are a variety of resources available. During your confirmatory test, your test counselor can tell you about assistance available in notifying partners. There is also a great small group workshop called +alk which helps guys living with HIV learn ways to talk to people about their HIV status and to reduce stress around disclosure.

Sites for general medical knowledge with links to HIV

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sponsors this site. Provided is an alphabetical index that will locate links to government approved HIV, HCV and HBV treatment.

Medscape requires a free registration. It is a good site for general medical articles with specific links to HIV. Under 'Infectious Diseases,' links to HCV, HBV, co-infection and related information is available. Devoted to current medical articles some medical knowledge is required. A comprehensive search engine with a free email subscription is provided.

Sites devoted to HIV infection

This is POZ magazine's site. Drop down menus include basic facts about prevention, current medical advice, medications, side effects, with information about treatment of opportunistic infections. There is a section devoted to current treatment news from established journals and conferences with advice sections for newly diagnosed. The site is easy to understand for those without knowledge of the disease. Much of the site is available in Spanish.

Sponsored by Johns Hopkins Medical University the site is devoted to diagnosis, drugs, pathogenesis, management and current information on drug resistance. Provided is a comprehensive FAQ to treatment including a free pocket guide.

This site features a section at the bottom of the home page for patients and the public with easy to understand links to advice and treatment. UC San Francisco Medical Center maintains this site.

The Body is a complete resource for understanding HIV basics, including medications, prevention, advice to the newly diagnosed, exercise, nutrition and other easy to understand articles. Provided is a 'Health Tracker' to keep lab results, graphs of viral load, CD4 counts and a personal journal. The entire site is available in Spanish. Free email updates are available.

The Foundation for AIDS Research maintains this site for news and research from the United States as well as other countries. Articles are easy to understand.

Sites devoted to HIV, HCV, HBV and co-infections

This site, sponsored by the Department of Human Services of Oregon provides general medical information with links to HIV and other infectious diseases. Organizations, testing sites and other information, divided by counties, are provided.

Project Inform is one of the oldest and largest organizations devoted to HIV and HCV. Links to nutrition and supplements, treatment advice, individual medications, advice to the newly diagnosed, women and children are featured among others. Articles are easy to understand. The organization includes the California State AIDS Hotline-the site provides a link to the Hotline for written questions.

The National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project maintains this site and reports daily on current news and events related to HIV, HCV and co-infection. Entire articles from prominent journals, conferences and clinical trials are provided. Listed on the home page are menus devoted to aging, side effects, people of color, women, drug abuse and others. Some medical knowledge is required. Provided are free subscriptions to daily or weekly data compilations.

This site contains separate menus for HIV, HCV, HBV and co-infection. The home page features top news articles on each subject, with experimental and FDA-approved treatments. Articles are easy to understand. Several pharmaceutical companies sponsor the site.