What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have HIV?
HIV/AIDS treatment has progressed exponentially over the last few decades, with AIDS-related death rates continuing to decline across the globe. However, that does not mean that we are no longer at risk of becoming infected with HIV and/or transmitting HIV to another person. New HIV cases continue to be reported each year, with patients in the LGBTQ+ communities being at an increased risk of contracting the virus. At HEALOR Primary Care in Las Vegas, NV, board-certified physician Dr. Raj Singh is committed to helping patients take charge of their health by understanding how to decrease their HIV/AIDS risk factors and knowing what to do if they suspect they may have been exposed to HIV.
How do you get HIV?
HIV can be transmitted from person to person through sexual activity, contact with infected blood, sharing needles, and other methods. A mother can also pass HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
What does HIV do?
HIV is a virus that wreaks havoc on the body’s immune system. More specifically, HIV attacks the patient’s white blood cells, ultimately leaving them unable to fight infections and more susceptible to certain diseases. When left untreated, HIV causes AIDS.
How do you know if you have HIV?
After exposure to HIV, when the virus has entered the body, patients may experience mild, flu-like symptoms that can last for up to a few weeks. However, these symptoms can closely mimic other conditions and, in some cases, go completely unnoticed. For this reason, it is essential that patients who suspect an HIV infection get tested. Without an HIV lab test, it is impossible to know with certainty if you are infected with HIV.
What should I do if I think I have HIV?
If you think you have been exposed to HIV, call your doctor and schedule an HIV test.
How soon after HIV exposure should you get tested?
If you believe that you were recently exposed to HIV, it may be too early for an HIV test to detect the exposure. On average, it takes about 4 – 6 weeks after exposure for an HIV test to provide accurate results. Even if you receive a negative HIV test after six weeks, your provider may recommend a repeat test at a subsequent date to ensure the initial test was not performed too early for detection.
How can I decrease my risk of getting HIV?
Some critical steps you can take to minimize your risk of contracting or transmitting HIV include:
- Use a condom during sexual activity
- Be selective with your sexual partners
- Limit your sexual partners
- Do not use injectable drugs
- Do not share needles
- Consider PEP or PrEP treatment
During your next appointment with Dr. Singh, don’t hesitate to discuss any concerns you may have about a possible HIV exposure, a current HIV infection, the potential transmission of HIV, or any other topics of concern. Dr. Singh understands the sensitive and personal nature of living with HIV and is committed to helping his patients safeguard their health, minimize the risk of transmission, and continue to lead full, vibrant lives.
Knowledge is power when it comes to HIV prevention in Las Vegas, NV
By knowing what to do if you have HIV or suspect HIV, you can minimize your risk of developing AIDS and reduce the possibility of transmitting HIV to others. Not only that, but understanding your options for HIV treatment and prevention can help you feel more confident, positive, and empowered. To learn more about managing your HIV or getting tested for HIV in Las Vegas, NV, call HEALOR Primary Care today to schedule your private consultation with board-certified physician Dr. Raj Singh.