HIV Testing Introduction
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV destroys the body's immune system and eventually leads to AIDS. People with AIDS develop many diseases and "opportunistic" infections (such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, cancer, and skin infections) that may ultimately lead to death. Prevention is critical. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but currently, there are effective treatments that can drastically slow the disease process. If you have been exposed to the HIV virus in any number of ways, you can very easily be tested to determine whether or not you have been infected with the virus.
From the minute the HIV enters the body, the virus begins replicating at a rate of 10 billion new viral particles per day. In fact, it is during this early burst of viral replication, within the first month of contracting HIV, when patients are mostly asymptomatic, that the virus is high in numbers and more likely to be spread from one person to another.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/23/2014
Leon Salem, MD, MS, FACEP
Resources for Staying Well
- HIV-AIDS: Myths and Facts
- Understanding The Symptoms of AIDS/HIV
- The Top 10 Myths About HIV and AIDS
- How Well Are You Living With AFib?
- How Well Are You Managing Your MS?
- Soothe Your Child's Cold or Flu