HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is the most advanced stage of HIV infection. When HIV damages enough of the body’s immune system, it can lead to AIDS.
There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but it is a manageable condition. With early diagnosis and treatment, people with HIV can live long and healthy lives.
The symptoms of HIV/AIDS can vary depending on the stage of infection. In the early stages of HIV infection, people may experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, headache, and muscle aches. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a few weeks.
In the later stages of HIV infection, when the immune system is severely weakened, people may experience more serious symptoms, such as:
- Weight loss
- Persistent fever
- Night sweats
- Shortness of breath
- Skin infections
- Mouth sores
If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, it is important to get tested as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help you live a long and healthy life.
There are a number of ways to prevent HIV infection, including:
- Abstaining from sex
- Using condoms correctly and consistently
- Getting vaccinated against hepatitis B
- Taking PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a medication that can help prevent HIV infection
If you are living with HIV, there are a number of things you can do to stay healthy, including:
- Taking your HIV medication as prescribed
- Getting regular checkups with your doctor
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Getting enough sleep
- Managing stress
There are also a number of resources available to help people living with HIV, including:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/
- The National AIDS Hotline: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)
- The AIDS Treatment Assistance Program (ATAP): https://www.atap.org/
If you have any questions or concerns about HIV/AIDS, please talk to your doctor.