You cannot know for sure if you have HIV until you get tested. About 1 out of 4 people with HIV don't know they are infected. Testing is the only way to tell.
HIV testing is done by a blood draw with results available in 14 to 28 days, or with a simple oral swab with results available in 20 minutes. HIV counseling referral services and treatment referral services are available. Counseling and confidential testing for HIV are provided by trained staff who are sensitive to your needs and concerns.
Free HIV testing is available on the 1st Thursday of every month for all new patients.
Find the health center nearest you or call 1.800.230.PLAN for more information.
HIV causes AIDS
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It breaks down the immune system — our body's protection against disease. HIV causes people to become sick with infections that normally wouldn't affect them. AIDS is short for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. It is the most advanced stage of HIV disease.
In the United States, more than 980,000 cases of AIDS have been reported to the government. About 40,000 women and men in the United States get HIV each year.
Symptoms of HIV
There are several stages of HIV disease. The first HIV symptoms may include swollen glands in the throat, armpit, or groin. Other early HIV symptoms include slight fever, headaches, fatigue, and muscle aches. These symptoms may last for only a few weeks. Then there are usually no HIV symptoms for many years. That is why it can be hard to know if you have HIV.
The Spread of HIV
HIV is transmitted in blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. The most common ways HIV is spread are by:
- having vaginal or anal intercourse without a condom with someone who has HIV/AIDS
- sharing needles or syringes with someone who has HIV/AIDS
- being deeply punctured with a needle or surgical instrument contaminated with HIV
- getting HIV-infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions into open wounds or sores
- and babies born to women with HIV/AIDS can get HIV from their mothers during birth or from breastfeeding.
HIV is not transmitted by simple casual contact such as kissing, sharing drinking glasses, or hugging.