What is HIV?

A retrovirus by the name of Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

HIV is mainly transmitted through sexual intercourse, but can also be passed down from mother to child or through contact with infected bodily fluids.

Once a person is infected, the virus remains in the body for life. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are drugs that help control the virus, enabling people with symptoms of HIV to live full and healthy lives. There are also various methods to help prevent the spread of the disease.

What are the symptoms?

Early HIV symptoms generally arise within 4 to 6 weeks after transmission, although they can arrive as early as 2 weeks. Some people may experience no early symptoms.

Early symptoms include:

  • headache
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • sore throat
  • rash
  • muscle and joint pain
  • ulcers in the mouth
  • ulcers on the genitals
  • night sweats
  • diarrhoea

When these symptoms resolve, the virus enters its latent phase. The virus is still in the body but is less active. This period can last for as long as 10 years whilst the virus is causing severe damage to the immune system. HIV will then progress to AIDS if not treated.

What's the treatment

No cure exists for HIV, however strict adherence to antiretroviral treatment (ARVs) can dramatically slow the disease’s progress as well as prevent secondary infections and complications.

What do we test?

At Test Easy – HIV testing is quick and easy.

We test for HIV with the HIV ELISA test which requires a blood sample.

The window period of the HIV Elisa is 4 weeks. This is the time between potential exposure to HIV and the point when the test will give an accurate result.

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