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HIV/AIDS (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

If you have engaged in unprotected sex outside of a mutually monogamous relationship or shared needles while using drugs, you should have an HIV test. Early recognition of the signs and symptoms of HIV infection, HIV testing, and starting treatment for HIV as soon as possible can slow the growth of HIV and decrease the risk of transmission to another person.

  • If you are pregnant and infected with HIV, you may be able to reduce the risk to your unborn child by getting treatment early.
  • You can also avoid infecting others if you know that you have the disease. Testing is available anonymously and confidentially. A home test for HIV is also available.

People known to have HIV infection or AIDS should go to the hospital any time they develop high fever, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, severe diarrhea, severe chest or abdominal pain, generalized weakness, severe headache, seizures, confusion, or a change in mental status. These may be the indication of a life-threatening condition for which an urgent evaluation in the hospital's emergency department is recommended. All infected people should be under the regular care of a physician skilled in the treatment of HIV and AIDS.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

HIV Disease »

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease was first described in 1981 among 2 groups—one in San Francisco and the other in New York City.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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