How do I know if I have HIV?

How do I know if I have HIV?

The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. You can’t rely on symptoms to tell whether you have HIV. Knowing your HIV status helps you make healthy decisions to prevent getting or transmitting HIV to your partner.

Symptoms of HIV

There are several symptoms of HIV. Not everyone will have the same symptoms. It depends on the person and what stage of the disease they are in. So even if you don’t have any of the typical signs of an infection, you should always get tested if you think you are at risk. These are the three stages of HIV and some of the symptoms people may experience.

Stage 1: Acute HIV Infection

The phase of acute HIV infection or primary HIV infection. Around 2-4 weeks after being infected with HIV you will have a flu-like illness because the immune system in the body responds to the virus. Flu-like symptoms can include:

  • Fever, Chills and Sore throat
  • Body rash
  • Night sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • Mouth ulcers or Swollen lymph nodes
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms can be symptoms other illnesses than HIV. So the best way to know if infected with HIV or not? Go get an HIV test!

Stage 2: Clinical Latency

This stage is the phase without any symptoms. Thus, who can easily infect others through unprotected sex because they didn’t know they had HIV. The virus still multiplies but at very low levels. You may not feel sick until more than 10-15 years have passed and you will enter chronic HIV infection. Without HIV treatment, the virus moves through this stage faster. You can transmit HIV during this stage, even when you have no symptoms.

Symptoms of HIV

Stage 3: AIDS

After years with untreated HIV, you are likely to get infections caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi that your body is no longer strong enough to fight off because the immune system has been destroyed by the HIV. They can be a sign that your infection has gone from HIV to AIDS. You might have:

  • Recurring fever
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Profuse night sweats
  • Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
  • Extreme and unexplained tiredness
  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
  • Sores of the mouth, anus, or genitals
  • Mouth and skin problems
  • Pneumonia
  • Memory loss or Depression
  • Frequent infections
  • Other neurologic disorders

Many of the severe symptoms and illnesses of HIV disease come from the opportunistic infections that occur because your body’s immune system has been damaged. You will need to start treatment as soon as possible. Studies have found that, depending on how early the infection is treated, the life span of HIV patients undergoing regular treatment may be essentially no different from someone who does not have HIV.

Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful

If you test POSITIVEIf you test NEGATIVE
You can take medicine to treat HIV. By taking HIV medicine daily as prescribed, you can make the amount of HIV in your blood very low. Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best thing you can do to stay healthy.You can use HIV prevention medicine known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to protect yourself. You can also use other HIV prevention methods such as condoms or safe sex.

If you are pregnant, you should be tested for HIV so that you can begin treatment if you’re HIV-positive. Women who are treated for HIV early in her pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby can be very low.

Each of these symptoms can be related to other diseases as well, so we want to emphasize that the only way to know if you have HIV is through testing. If you find HIV positive, early treatment is the key to surviving and living with HIV.