Get tested this HIV week!
According to the CDC, more than one million people in the U.S. are living with HIV. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. There is currently no effective cure for HIV. Once a person gets HIV, they have it for life. Good news is that HIV can be controlled with proper medical care.
HIV week kicks of November 16th. This week is an opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of HIV on our communities. HIV week is also a great opportunity to talk to others about the prevention and treatment of HIV. This HIV week, get tested, encourage others to get tested, and ask your doctor about the care and treatments available to you.
What is HIV?
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. When HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the most severe phase of HIV infection. When a person has HIV, it does not mean that the person has AIDS or that the person will have AIDS in a certain amount of time. It only means that the person is infected with HIV.
Some groups of people in the United States are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors. These factors include a person’s sex partners, their risk behaviors, and where they live.
Most people with HIV experience flu-like symptoms within 2-4 weeks after being infected. These symptoms may last a few days or weeks.
Possible symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
Having these symptoms does not mean you have HIV. Other illnesses like COVID-19 and the flu cause these symptoms too. Some people do not even feel sick when they first get HIV. The best way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested.
The Louisiana Department of Health has the STD/HIV/Hepatitis Program (SHP). This program is designed to prevent the spread of HIV and to ensure the availability of quality medical and social services for those diagnosed with HIV. This program also provides a variety of patient care services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS.