HIV Basics

This section gives you basic information about HIV. It’s important to learn about HIV because you can have HIV without knowing it.

What is HIV?

HIV is a virus that can make you sick. There is no cure for HIV, but there is treatment. Without HIV treatment, your immune system can become weak, and you can become sick with life-threatening illnesses. This is the most serious stage of HIV infection, called AIDS. Anyone can be infected with HIV, no matter:

  • Your age.
  • Your sex.
  • Your race or ethnicity.
  • Who you have sex with.

HIV Symptoms

You can have HIV and not know it. Some people have flu-like symptoms when they first get infected with HIV. But some people have no symptoms at all.

Flu-like symptoms include:

  • Sore throat.
  • Swollen glands.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Skin rash.
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Night sweats.

If you experience flu-like symptoms, don’t wait. Speak to a healthcare provider about getting tested for HIV.

Find HIV Testing Locations

HIV Treatment

There is no cure for HIV, but with proper care and treatment, people living with HIV can avoid getting AIDS and can stay healthy for a long time.

It is important to get treatment for HIV and take your medication the right way every day. People who take their medication also reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to another person. HIV treatment is very important. People who take their medication live nearly as long as someone who is not living with HIV.

1 in 7 people living with HIV don’t know it.


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