HIV 101

Unlock the knowledge to understand HIV better. SisterLove, Inc provides you with factual, easy-to-understand answers to all your questions regarding HIV. Start your journey to awareness today.

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Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about HIV

What should I do if I need to get tested now:

You can always reach out to us directly and schedule a free and confidential HIV/STI test in person at our Atlanta MotherHouse health clinic. If you dont live nearby, then get your free HIV self-test kit today.

Can you get HIV from someone who is undetectable?

When someone with HIV is on effective treatment and maintains an undetectable viral load (meaning very low levels of HIV in their body), the risk of transmitting HIV to others is extremely low, even during unprotected sex. This is often summarized as "Undetectable = Untransmittable" or "U=U." However, it's still important for partners to communicate openly and make informed decisions about sexual health together.

Can HIV hide from tests for years?

No, modern HIV tests are very accurate and reliable. If someone has been infected with HIV for several months or years, it will show up on a standard HIV test. There is a short "window period" right after infection when tests might not detect the virus, but this usually only lasts a few weeks to a couple of months at most.

How soon can HIV be detected by a blood test?

Most modern HIV tests can detect the virus within 2 to 6 weeks after exposure. Some rapid tests can give results in as little as 20 minutes, but it's important to follow up with a healthcare provider to confirm the results.

Can I test for HIV at home?

Yes, there are FDA-approved home testing kits for HIV. These kits usually involve pricking your finger for a small blood sample and then sending it to a lab for testing. Home tests can be a good first step, but it's crucial to follow up with a healthcare provider for confirmation and guidance on treatment if needed.

Can you get HIV from kissing?

No, HIV is not spread through saliva, so kissing is considered very low risk. HIV transmission through kissing would only be a concern if both people had significant bleeding in their mouths.

Can HIV be cured?

the short answer is: we don't have a widely available cure for HIV yet. A few people have been "functionally cured" after getting stem cell transplants for other health issues, but this is super rare and risky. For now, the best treatment is antiretroviral therapy (ART). It can't completely get rid of HIV, but it can keep the virus under control so people can live long, healthy lives. Scientists are still working hard to find a cure that works for everyone, but we're not quite there yet. We work with Emory University on their HIV Cure Research project, ERASE HIV. Watch our latest webinar to learn everything you need to know about the progress we’re making.

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV is mainly spread through sexual contact, sharing needles, or from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. It's transmitted through certain body fluids like blood, semen, and vaginal fluids.

What does HIV stand for

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It's a virus that affects the immune system.

What is HIV?

HIV is a virus that weakens a person's immune system by attacking important cells. It spreads through certain body fluids, usually during unprotected sex or needle sharing. Without treatment, HIV gets worse over time, making it hard for the body to fight off infections. While there's no cure yet, medicines can control HIV and help people live long, healthy lives. The only way to know if someone has HIV is to get tested. Doctors can help explain more and find the right treatment plan.

What are the symptoms/signs of HIV?

The symptoms of HIV can vary depending on the stage of infection:Acute HIV Infection (2-4 weeks after infection): • Flu-like symptoms: fever, chills, rash, sore throat • Fatigue, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes • Mouth ulcers • Not everyone experiences symptoms at this stageClinical Latency (Chronic HIV): • Often no symptoms for years • Virus multiplies at low levels • Possible mild symptoms: fever, fatigue, diarrhea, weight loss, oral yeast infection (thrush), shinglesAIDS (Advanced HIV): • Severe damage to immune system • Opportunistic infections & cancers more likely • Symptoms: rapid weight loss, recurring fever, night sweats, extreme fatigue • Prolonged lymph node swelling, chronic diarrhea • Neurological issues like memory loss, depression • Pneumonia, skin lesions The only way to know your HIV status for sure is to get tested. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent progression to AIDS. If you think you may have been exposed, talk to a doctor about testing options.

How are HIV and AIDS related?

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection when the immune system is severely damaged. With proper treatment, people with HIV can live long lives without developing AIDS.

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