ARCpoint Labs is working to bring attention to AIDs and HIV issues during June, which is AIDs Awareness Month.
Our focus today is on the basic facts about HIV and HIV testing that everyone, whether in the workplace or not, should be aware of.
Despite the fact that over one million Americans are currently living with HIV, many people still do not understand what HIV is, how it is transmitted, what symptoms it presents or the importance of HIV testing. Not only does this serious lack of information prevent HIV sufferers from getting the HIV testing and treatment they need, but it also allows the disease to spread much more rapidly than it would if people had the proper HIV testing, information and treatment.
What is HIV?
HIV, short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that attacks a person’s immune system, preventing it from fighting this disease and others. Without the proper treatment, HIV can progress to AIDS, the final stage of HIV infection, by which point a person’s immune system is badly damaged and his or her life expectancy is decreased to only about three years. That’s why regular HIV testing is essential.
What are the Symptoms of HIV?
Symptoms can vary widely among individuals, but symptoms such as fever, sore throat, fatigue, headaches, rashes and swollen glands are very common within the first few weeks. As the disease progresses, infected individuals may experience symptoms including extreme tiredness, diarrhea, night sweats, sores, pneumonia, memory loss or depression. Of course, some people might experience no symptoms at all for a period of time. Because some people are asymptomatic, HIV testing is recommended even for people who feel healthy.
How Do People Get HIV?
The HIV virus is spread through body fluids such as semen, vaginal fluid, blood and breast milk. People get HIV by having sex with another person, by sharing needles or at birth if their mother had HIV. Healthcare workers and workers in other related occupations may also be exposed to HIV on the job. Because people can transmit HIV in many different ways, you should get regular HIV testing.
What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have HIV?
If there is any chance that you may have HIV, you need to get HIV testing. Because HIV doesn’t always present symptoms, HIV testing is the only way to know for sure if you have the disease. HIV testing is easy and anonymous. Get HIV testing today.
To get more information about HIV testing, simply contact an ARCpoint Labs location near you.