Jane Bogart talks about how to recognize the symptoms of HIV.
Read the full transcript »
Let's talk about the symptoms of HIV - which is slightly misleading because HIV doesn't have any symptoms. HIV is virus that you're infected with that may or may not lead to AIDS. People who are infected with HIV often don't know they are infected because there are rarely symptoms. Sometimes doctors will say that when you seroconvert - which is when the virus actually enters your blood stream - there might be some flu-like symptoms that people feel. But in general, there are no really apparent symptoms that would say to someone I'm infected with HIV. The only way to know if you're infected with HIV is get tested. And there are three different ways of getting tested for HIV. Two of the involve blood and one does not. The first way is the more traditional HIV test. It's called the Western Blot test. And that you usually have after 3 months of an exposure. An exposure means anytime you might have been exposed to HIV - so whether that's through sharing needles with somebody, having unprotected or forced intercourse, having some sort of contact with blood from someone who's infected - Those are the ways that you can get infected and after 3 months you would be able to tell through a Western Blot test if you are actually are HIV positive. Another way to tell is to test - blood test after around 28 days of an exposure. And you can tell from that the viral load - how much blood is actually in your system. The difference between those two tests, however are that the viral load test is often more expensive, not performed as often, and really used more for people who at high risk for exposure. The Western Blot test - very inexpensive. You can often get it for free. And it's very accessible through clinics in your area. You can also do the Western Blog test through a home test and you can purchase that test online and do it by yourself in your house and call in and get your results over the phone. The third kind of test that doesn't involve blood is the oral swab test - often called rapid testing. And that test involves taking like a Q-tip sort of instrument but more abrasive and taking cells from your cheek. So those are the ways to get tested. Very rarely are there symptoms of HIV and really the only way to tell if you're infected is to be tested.
Copyright © 2005 - 2014 Healthline Networks, Inc. All rights reserved for Healthline.