If you have engaged in unprotected sex or shared needles while using drugs, you should consider an HIV test. Early detection and treatment of the infection can slow the progression of HIV.
Individuals known to have HIV infection or AIDS should seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms such as high fever, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, severe diarrhea, intense chest or abdominal pain, generalized weakness, severe headache, seizures, confusion, or a change in mental status. These symptoms may indicate a life-threatening condition that requires urgent evaluation at a hospital's emergency department.
Individuals with HIV infection require ongoing follow-up with their healthcare providers, particularly those with experience in treating HIV-related complications and the required medications. During follow-up, patients are counseled on disease transmission prevention, evaluated for medication side effects, educated about the disease process, and efforts are made to enhance their quality of life.
The only way to prevent HIV infection is to avoid behaviors that put you at risk, such as sharing needles or engaging in unprotected sex. Many people infected with HIV do not exhibit symptoms, and it's challenging to determine a partner's HIV status with certainty.
There is no cure for HIV infection, but antiretroviral treatment can reduce the HIV virus to very low levels.