Misconceptions about HIV and AIDS

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and leaves the human body defenseless against infections, leading to the incurable condition known as AIDS. HIV is spreading beyond the key groups, such as sex workers and injecting drug users.

Do I need to get tested for HIV?

You should get tested if you:

  • have had unprotected sex
  • have recently been diagnosed with another STI
  • have shared needles or other injecting equipment
  • are worried about HIV and want to put your mind at ease.

Most people don’t know right away when they’ve been infected with HIV. But they may have symptoms within 2 to 6 weeks after they’ve gotten the virus. This is when your body’s immune system puts up a fight. It’s called acute retroviral syndrome or primary HIV infection.

The symptoms are similar to those of other viral illnesses, and they’re often compared to the flu. They typically last a week or two and then go away. Early signs of HIV include: Headache, Fatigue, Aching muscles, Sore throat, Swollen lymph nodes, A red rash that doesn’t itch, usually on your torso, and Fever.

If you have symptoms like these and might have come into contact with someone with HIV in the past 2 to 6 weeks, go to a doctor and ask that you get an HIV test. If you don’t have symptoms but still think you might have come into contact with the virus, get tested.

Despite all of the information available about HIV/AIDS, there are still so many common misconceptions.