Did you know that an estimated one in seven people in the United States have HIV but are unaware that they have it? HIV is a virus that attacks your body’s immune system. Without proper testing and treatment, HIV can develop into a more severe and potentially life-threatening condition.
At , Dr. Rosen and her care team provide and treatment options at our office in Jeannette, PA. While HIV testing is simple, it can be lifesaving. Here is some information regarding HIV testing and how you can protect yourself from contracting HIV:
What is HIV?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. When our immune system is weakened, we become more susceptible to other illnesses. HIV is spread through blood and other bodily fluids. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). AIDS is the most serious stage of HIV and can often lead to fatal outcomes. That is why it’s important to learn about HIV and stay aware of how you can minimize your risk of contracting it. While there is currently no cure for HIV, proper medical care can manage HIV and associated symptoms, offering you a long and healthy life while HIV-positive.
What Are Symptoms of HIV?
People who contract HIV may experience flu-like symptoms two to four weeks after infection. Not everyone who contracts HIV, however, will have the same symptoms. In fact, some may not experience any symptoms at all. Some common symptoms of HIV include the following:
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
Should I Get Tested for HIV?
Aside from experiencing symptoms, there are other factors that can contribute to your risk of contracting HIV. What are they?
- Sex partners- If you have sex with an HIV-positive partner or have sex with more than one partner, you may be more susceptible to contracting HIV.
- Risk behaviors- Having unprotected sex or sharing contaminated injection equipment such as needles or syringes can increase the spread of HIV.
- Having a prior STI- Prior diagnosis of other sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, genital herpes, chlamydia, or gonorrhea can increase your risk of contracting HIV.
The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13-64 receive HIV testing at least once in their lifetime. Have you gotten tested for HIV? If not, you can schedule your testing appointment at Recovery Care today.
Types of HIV Tests
While medical testing can often cause feelings of stress and anxiety, HIV testing is relatively easy. At Recovery Care, we test for HIV using samples of either blood or oral fluid. This can be as quick as a cheek swab or a blood draw. If necessary, our specialists at Recovery Care will work with you to develop a treatment plan and will remain by your side to ensure your health and progress.
HIV Prevention: What You Can Do
Did you know that in 2018, an estimated(opens in a new tab) had HIV? You can be an active member in preventing the spread of HIV by doing the following:
- Never share needles
- Protect yourself during sex by using condoms
- Get tested for STDs regularly
- Get tested for HIV