HIV Tests

HIV Tests

HIV tests are an important part of being sexually active, especially if you’ve had multiple partners. It is good etiquette to get tested often out of respect for your potential partners. HIV tests are important because the sooner you catch the virus, the easier it is to go through a serious of treatments that will help prevent it from turning into AIDS. While there is no known cure for HIV or for AIDS, early detection of experienced HIV symptoms is a good thing and can increase your chances of living a long life after the diagnosis.

It is terrible how dishonest some people are when it comes to HIV. Tests, therefore, are an important part of the process. But that is not the only reason that people should get tested. Some people need to get tested. For example, the military may require getting occasional HIV tests to make sure the person is completely healthy. Some states require HIV tests when applying for a marriage license. The theory is that it is just good for the couple to know where they stand in terms of HIV.

There are several places you can go to get the test done. First, you can check with your doctor. Chances are, you can get the test through the doctor’s office. But if you want to remain a little more anonymous there are clinics you can go to where you can get the HIV tests. These clinics are designed to help educate people about HIV, how to prevent, and offer tests and other things that can help.

There are some people who can’t afford to get HIV tests. That is another reason why these clinics are important. Some of them are not for profit organizations whose mission it is to educate people about HIV. These clinics are designed to offer treatment, tests, and provide their clients with information about HIV. This is important because the better educated people are, the easier it will be to control the virus.

HIV tests are important because if the virus goes undetected it can get worse. You can get HIV tests from your doctor or from a clinic. Some people need to get them done and for others, it is just a good idea to schedule the test periodically if they are sexually active.

HIV/AIDS Symptoms

HIV, human immunodeficiency virus and AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome have symptoms that vary, depending on the phase of infection. The terms HIV infection and AIDS refer to different stages of the same disease. When first infected with HIV, you may have no symptoms at all, although it’s more common to develop a brief flu-like illness two to six weeks after becoming infected. Because the symptoms of an initial infection which may include fever, headache, sore throat, swollen lymph glands and rash, are similar to those of other diseases, you might not realize you’ve been infected with HIV.

Symptoms of HIV in children

Children who are HIV-positive often fail to gain weight or grow normally. As the disease progresses, they may have difficulty walking or delayed mental development. In addition to being susceptible to the same opportunistic infections that adults are, children may also have severe forms of common childhood illnesses such as ear infections, pneumonia and tonsillitis.

Even if you don’t have symptoms, you’re still able to transmit the virus to others. Once the virus enters your body, your immune system also comes under attack. The virus multiplies in your lymph nodes and slowly begins to destroy your helper T cells, the white blood cells that coordinate your entire immune system.

You may remain symptom-free for 8 or 9 years or more. But the virus continues to multiply and destroy immune cells. Tests are likely to show a sharp decline in the number of these cells in your blood. Eventually, you may develop mild infections or chronic symptoms such as:

  • Often one of the first signs of HIV infection is swollen lymph nodes
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough and shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

During the last phase of HIV which occurs approximately 10 or more years after the initial infection more serious symptoms may begin to appear, and the infection may then meet the official definition of AIDS. During the early 90s the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention redefined AIDS to mean the presence of HIV infection as shown by a positive HIV-antibody test plus at least one of the following:

  • The development of an opportunistic infection — an infection that occurs when your immune system is impaired; such as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia
  • CD4 lymphocyte count of 200 or less, 600 to 1,000 is a normal count

By the time AIDS develops, your immune system has been severely damaged, making you susceptible to opportunistic infections. The signs and symptoms of some of these infections may include:

  • Shaking chills or fever higher than 100 F for several weeks
  • Dry cough and shortness of breath
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Soaking night sweats
  • Persistent white spots or unusual lesions on your tongue or in your mouth
  • Headaches
  • Blurred and distorted vision
  • Weight loss

You may also begin to experience signs and symptoms of later stage HIV infection itself, such as:

  • Swelling of lymph nodes for more than three months
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Persistent headaches
  • Persistent, unexplained fatigue
  • Soaking night sweats
  • Shaking chills or fever higher than 100 F for several weeks

HIV crosses all cultures, national borders and religions. No one is immune, and the virus continues to spread among all segments of the human population at a rapid rate.

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