HIV and AIDS

HIV and AIDS

If you have had unprotected exposure to the HIV virus, make sure to get yourself tested. Blood tests can accurately diagnose HIV. However, there is a recognised window period, meaning that it may take some time – at least three months and sometimes longer – after unprotected exposure to HIV before the test may show up positive in your blood.

Signs and Symptoms of HIV/AIDS

Early signs of HIV/AIDS infection can include flu-like symptoms, unexplained rashes, fungal infections in the throat, swollen glands and unusual tiredness. These symptoms and signs are similar to many different flu-like or viral infections and diseases. The person appears to recover, usually between a week and a month later. Often, however, early infection with HIV/AIDS has no symptoms.

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Later signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS can include rapid weight loss, dry cough, fevers or night sweats, fatigue, swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin or neck, recurrent infections such as chest infections, pneumonia or Candida infections (thrush) in the mouth, memory loss and depression. At this stage the person is said to have progressed from having a HIV infection to having full-blown AIDS. As the disease progresses and the immune system is weakened further, cancers and other life-threatening infections can occur.

Many people who carry the HIV virus don’t know they are infected; that’s why being tested is so important. If you are sexually active with more than one partner – or have any reason to think you might have been exposed to HIV in the past – go to your doctor and discuss whether you should be screened or not.

Can STIs Be Prevented?

Yes, in fact STIs are easily prevented. The only foolproof way is to avoid sex. The next best way to prevent an STI is simply to have sex with an uninfected partner in the context of a monogamous, faithful relationship. The third way is to always practise safe sex. Using condoms that prevent the sharing of body fluids cuts down on the likelihood of cross-infection, but occasionally they do fail during use. However, they are still highly effective at preventing the spread of STIs.

There is no doubt that there is a big knowledge deficit among men when it comes to men’s sexual health issues, as with other health-related areas. The challenge is to provide information and education about sexually Generic viagra Australia Pharmacy transmitted infections so that men can make informed choices. It is also important that equal emphasis is put on alcohol and drug awareness as unplanned sexual encounters often occur in the context of alcohol and/or drug use.

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