The only way to know if you are infected is to be tested for HIV infection. You cannot rely on symptoms to know whether or not you are infected with HIV. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all for many years.
FAQ LIVING POSITIVELY
Yes. Having a STD can increase a person's risk of becoming infected with HIV.
If the STD infection causes irritation of the skin, breaks or sores may make it easier for HIV to enter the body during sexual contact. Even when the STD causes no breaks or open sores, the infection can stimulate an immune response in the genital area that can make HIV transmission more likely.
Additionally, if an HIV-infected person is also infected with another STD, that person is three to five times more likely than other HIV-infected persons to transmit HIV through sexual contact.
Not having sex is the most effective way to avoid all STDs, including HIV. For those who choose to be sexually active, the following HIV prevention activities are highly effective:
- Engaging in behaviors that do not involve sex
- Having sex with only one uninfected partner
- Using latex condoms every time you have sex
No. Being diagnosed with HIV does NOT mean a person will also be diagnosed with AIDS. Healthcare professionals diagnose AIDS only when people with HIV disease begin to get severe opportunistic infections (OI), or their T-cell counts fall below a certain level.
Your provider will probably check your CD4 count at your first visit. Then—depending on what your counts are and whether you both decide it’s time to begin treatment—you can usually expect to undergo viral load testing every 3-6 months. Typically, once you are on a good medication regimen, have an undetectable viral load, and have an increasing CD4 count, you will take a viral load test every 6 months.
There is very strong evidence showing that circumcised men are about half as likely as uncircumcised men to acquire HIV through heterosexual sex. However, circumcision does not make a man immune to HIV infection, it just means that it's less likely to happen. Male circumcision probably has little or no preventive benefit for women.