In the Know

HIV/AIDS

What is HIV?

HIV is a viral infection that can be contracted through unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex, and through needle sharing.

What are the symptoms?

Some people may develop brief flu-like symptoms soon after infection. However, it may take up to 10 years to develop later stage symptoms. There are several stages of HIV; the first stage includes swollen glands in the throat, armpit, or groin, slight fever, headaches, fatigue, and muscle aches. The later stages includes weakening of the immune system causing you to become vulnerable to unusual serious infections, weight loss, and lymph node swelling.

How do I get tested?

Cheek swab and blood test.

How do I get treated?

No cure. There are treatments to keep the virus under control and prevent developing other infections.

What if I don’t treat it?

If you don’t treat it, HIV leads to AIDS, the most advanced stage of HIV where the immune system gets seriously compromised.

How can I prevent it?

Know if your partner is infected before having sex. Abstinence is the only way to prevent it 100%. Use a latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene condom for vaginal and anal sex. People at very high risk may take PrEP (pre exposure prophylaxis) medications prior to high risk exposures when they are not infected, to reduce the risk of an infection.

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