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About HIV

Quick facts about HIV

HIV symptoms

Knowing the symptoms of HIV is important. However, people with HIV usually don’t have symptoms for at least 2–4 weeks. In fact, many won’t experience symptoms for months or even years.

Experiencing symptoms alone does not mean that you have HIV. Alternatively, you may not have any symptoms of HIV but still be infected with the virus. Therefore, it’s important to get tested to confirm whether you have HIV.

Most common HIV symptoms Less common HIV symptoms
Fever Headache
Enlarged or swollen lymph nodes Nausea and vomiting
Sore throat Enlarged liver/spleen
Rash Weight loss
Muscle pain Thrush (yeast infection in the mouth)
Sores in mouth and throat Neurological symptoms
Feeling unwell in general  

Am I at risk for HIV?

Anyone of any sexual orientation, age, or race can get HIV.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the risk of HIV is higher for:

  • Gay or bisexual men
  • Injection drug users
  • People with more than one sex partner

Know where you stand.

Take this simple quiz to find out if you’re at a greater risk for HIV.

Testing is the only way to know for sure

If you think you may have been exposed to the virus, talk to your doctor about getting tested. A blood test for HIV can confirm whether you’re HIV-positive.

Only an HIV screening can confirm whether someone is infected with HIV. Testing is for everyone! 

Learn more about HIV tests and treatment.

Take action. Get tested.

If you have HIV

Managing HIV

Reducing the risk of HIV infection

Testing negative for HIV is a relief. However, to reduce your risk of HIV in the future, those with a higher risk of HIV exposure are generally advised to get tested every year. More frequent testing (i.e, every 3 to 6 months) may be beneficial for sexually active gay or bisexual men.

Here are some ways to reduce your HIV risk:

Use condoms during anal and vaginal sex.

Always use specially designed barriers during oral sex.

Limit your number of sex partners.

Don’t share needles if you inject drugs or medication.

If your lifestyle or profession puts you at a higher risk of future exposure: Ask your doctor about pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP (a pill that helps prevent HIV before exposure). HIV testing is still important before and during PrEP treatment.

More ways you can help stop the spread of HIV

About HIV