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HIV – What You Need To Know

How Do I Know If I Have HIV?

An HIV test is the only way to tell if you have become infected with HIV. People can have HIV without knowing it, and you can’t tell from looking at someone whether they have HIV or not. HIV tests are extremely accurate. The tests used today can usually tell if a person has HIV within a month of their infection. However, to be certain that a person does not have HIV, it’s recommended to test again three months after possible exposure to HIV. If you have HIV, it’s very important that it’s diagnosed. This will give you the best chance of getting the treatment and care you need to stay well.
 

What Are The Symptoms?

Many people who are infected with HIV experience a short flu-like illness that occurs two to six weeks after infection. After this, HIV often causes no symptoms for several years. The most common symptoms are a fever, sort throat and body rash. Other symptoms many include tiredness, joint pain, muscle pain and swollen glands. The symptoms, which can last up to four weeks, are a sign that your immune system is putting up a fight against the virus. These symptoms can all be caused by conditions other than HIV, and do not mean you have the virus. However, if you have several of these symptoms, and you think you have been at risk of HIV infection, you should get an HIV test.
 

Where Can I Get An HIV Test?

In the UK, you can get a free and confidential HIV test at any NHS sexual health or GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinic. These clinics are linked into specialist HIV services, and there will be support available to you if your result is positive. HIV tests are also available at your doctor’s surgery (though you may have to be a registered patient); from a private clinic (but you will have to pay); or from a hospital. There are also places where you can have a free and confidential HIV test in your local community.
 

Is There A Cure?

There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments to enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.
 

Where Can I Get Help And Advice?

If you are worried about HIV or you need help living with HIV, then here at AISD we can help. You can call us on +44(0)1158540516 or you can email us at admin@africaninstitute.org.uk