If a woman has agreed to, and has had the HIV test, you need to know how to discuss the results with her (and ideally also with her partner) during post-test counselling. In an adult, a positive HIV test result means that the person is definitely infected with HIV. As you will learn in a later Module, a positive test result in a newborn or very young baby may not mean that the baby is infected. The mother's antibodies against HIV can get into the baby's blood during labour and delivery, and it is impossible to tell from the HIV Rapid Test if it is detecting her antibodies or the baby's antibodies. A negative HIV test result usually means that the mother or the baby is not infected with HIV.
A woman may be at high risk for HIV if she has recently had unprotected sexual intercourse with a man of unknown HIV status, or with a man known to be HIV-positive; or if her husband has another wife or has had other sexual partners, or if her husband injects illegal drugs. If such a woman tests negative the first time, she should be tested again after 3 months to confirm the original test result.