Signs and Symptoms
1. Skin sores, especially the purple lesions.
2. Swollen lymph nodes, especially at the back of the neck or in the armpits or groin.
3. Increasingly frequent colds, cold sores, fungal infections in the mouth, or yeast infections.
4. Weight loss, coughing, and breathing problems.
5. Fatigue and overall sick feeling.
6. Frequent diarrhea or constipation.
7. Fevers, chills, and night sweats.
8. Sore throat.
9. Confusion, memory loss, and personality changes.
What to do now
1. If your sexual partner is infected with the virus or if you have symptoms, get an HIV antibody test immediately. The sooner you know whether you are infected, the better the chance of delaying the illness. You should also be retested in three to six months; antibodies to the virus may take that long to develop.
2. After diagnosis practice safe sex; you can catch other HIV strains or spread the infection, even if you have no symptoms.
When to call a doctor
1. If you have HIV or AIDS, and your symptoms worsen or you develop a new one.
How to prevent it
1. Practice safe sex: A sexual relationship with only one person you know to be uninfected is safest. If you have sex with more than one person, use latex condoms, even during oral sex, and never reuse a condom.
2. Don’t have unprotected sex with anyone whose sexual history you don’t know or who isn’t willing to be tested for HIV.
3. Avoid anal sex; it increases your risk because of the chance of bleeding.
4. Hugging, kissing (any part of the body), message, and touching are safe activities.
5. Don’t inject drugs. If you do use intravenous drugs don’t share needles.
6. Avoid contact with other people’s blood.
7. If you continue to engage in high-risk sexual behavior, you and your partner(s) should be tested every 3 to 6 months.