These symptoms, which last up to a few weeks, mean your immune system is doing its job and fighting the virus. However, these symptoms can also be seen with other viral infections. If you develop these symptoms and have engaged in behavior that could put you at risk for HIV, you should consult your doctor and be tested.
As mentioned above, the first may involve flu-like symptoms, although most people report no symptoms at all. Then the virus appears to go dormant. This is the second stage, which can last as long as a decade.
In the third stage, your levels of T-cells drop so low that you can develop life-threatening diseases. This third stage can be prevented by early treatment for HIV.
But HIV is most commonly found among men who have sex with men and among people who inject drugs. It can also pass from a mother to a baby in her womb, or through breast milk, or from a man to a woman through sex. As of June , 1. Men who have sex with men, persons who inject drugs, anyone who has sex with multiple partners, and persons with sexually-transmitted infections should all be tested for HIV, generally at least once a year.
Results are available in as soon as 20 minutes. If you are diagnosed with HIV, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
The medications include six classes of drugs. People generally take two or more at a time, but they can be combined, and there are several one-pill-a-day regimens. Some block HIV from copying itself. Others prevent HIV from entering the T cell at all. Doctors tailor the plan to the person and his or her situation. Adhering to treatment can allow someone with HIV to obtain the same life expectancy as someone who is not infected.
The myth reportedly led to a number of rapes of young girls in South Africa. So take steps to stay healthy: Take your HIV medicines exactly as prescribed.
Make sure to tell your doctor if you have problems with the medicines, like side effects, before you consider stopping them. Most people tolerate the newer medications very well. Eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, some meat, fish, chicken, a bit of dairy, and a minimum of sugar and salt. Good friends and good times can lift your mood. Keep up with your checkups.
Talk to a counselor if you feel down or anxious. HIV carries a stigma for some. Supportive family members or friends. Your sex or needle-sharing partners. They may be at risk. Others with HIV, who may offer support. In some states, not telling certain people is a crime. Limit your number of sexual partners. Stick to less-risky forms of sex. Ask your doctor about preventive medicines. If you use drugs, always use clean needles. Also, if you feel you are at risk for getting HIV, you should get tested at least once a year.
If you do so within 72 hours and stick to the day course, you may be able to prevent HIV. Studies show a dramatic increase in life expectancy for those who get early treatment and maintain their care.