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What is HIV?

"HIV" stands for human immunodeficiency virus.

H

This particular virus can only infect human beings.

I

Immunodeficiency – HIV weakens your immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. A weak or “deficient” immune system can’t fully protect you.

V

A virus can only reproduce itself by using the body of its host (for example, a person).

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The Difference between HIV and AIDS

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At the end of 2018, about 1.2 million people in the United States were living with HIV. Some groups of people in the United States are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including the status of their sex partners, their risk behaviors, and where they live.

 

 

When people get HIV and don’t take HIV medicine, they will typically progress through three stages of disease, one after the other: 

 

 

1) acute HIV infection

2) clinical latency

3) acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

Symptoms & Treatment

Some people have flu-like symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks after infection (called acute HIV infection). These symptoms may last for a few days or several weeks.

 

Possible symptoms include:

 

 

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Rash

  • Night sweats

  • Muscle aches

  • Sore throat

  • Fatigue

  • Swollen lymph nodes, and

  • Mouth ulcers

 

 

But some people may not feel sick during acute HIV infection. These symptoms don’t mean you have HIV. Other illnesses can cause these same symptoms. If you have been involved with high risk activity such as unprotected sex with an HIV positive person and IV drug use please get tested. If you do not know the status of your sex partner, you should get tested.

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We are still learning about COVID-19 and how it affects people with HIV. Based on limited data, we believe people with HIV who are on effective HIV treatment have the same risk for COVID-19 as people who do not have HIV.

 

 

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at increased risk for severe illness. This includes people who have weakened immune systems. The risk for people with HIV getting very sick is greatest in

 

• People with a low CD4 cell count, and
• People not on effective HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy or ART).

How do I know if I have HIV? The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information that can help you and your partner stay healthy. Read more…

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