If you have engaged in unprotected sex or shared needles while using drugs, you should have an HIV test. Early detection and treatment of the infection can slow the growth of HIV.
People known to have HIV infection or AIDS
should go to the hospital any time they develop high fever, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, severe diarrhea, severe chest or abdominal pain, generalized weakness, severe headache, seizures, confusion, or change in mental status. These may be the indication of a life-threatening condition for which an urgent evaluation in the hospital's emergency department is recommended.
People with HIV infection need close follow-up by their doctors and should probably see health care workers who have experience and expertise in treating HIV-related complications and the various medications needed to treat this infection. At follow-up, those with HIV should be counseled about spreading the disease and evaluated for medication side effects. Infected individuals are also educated about the disease process, and attempts are made to improve the quality of their life.
The only way to prevent infection by the virus is to avoid behaviors that put you at risk, such as sharing needles or having unprotected sex. Many people infected with HIV don't have any symptoms. There is no way to know with certainty whether a sexual partner is infected.
There is no cure for HIV infection. Antiretroviral treatment, however, reduces the HIV virus to a very low number.
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