HIV/ AIDS   HIV is probably one of the most widely known STDs and one of the most dangerous as it can progress into AIDS.

There are no real symptoms of HIV, people may feel healthy for a long time after contracting it. You cannot physically tell who has this STD. If you are worried the following are possible symptoms that could indicate you are infected but of course, it is not always the case that you are:

Rapid drop in weight
A dry cough
A fever that recurs
Swollen lymph glands (armpits, neck or groin)
Long lasting fatigue
White spots or unusual blemishes in the mouth or throat (including tongue)

Red, brown, pink, or purple blotches on or under the skin
Red, brown, pink or purple blotches inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
If you are at all worried then contact your doctor or go to a GUM clinic immediately as the faster you respond the better it will be for you.

You can contract HIV in the following ways only: Vaginal, oral or anal sex; sharing needles; receiving or coming into contact with infected blood. There is no other way to contract HIV and so you should not react differently around a person you know is infected.

Oral sex is the safest form of sex with the least risk of infection, but always use a condom or dental dam. Avoid giving it to a female partner when she is having her period and don’t let any pre-ejaculatory fluid or actual sperm from a male partner get in your mouth.

Blood tests will be taken when testing for HIV but it can take up to 6 months for it to actually show via this method so you may need a retest. Make sure you protect yourself in this time.

If you are HIV positive then you will need to discuss the health implications with your doctor and make sure that you keep healthy. There are some treatments available to help slow the onset of AIDS so these will be discussed and you can find out if they are a good option and if you are in a position to start taking them.

HIV actually stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and AIDS Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, they are so named as they can affect your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness.

Be very careful if you know you have, or are worried about, HIV and always protect yourself. It is good to get regularly tested for this as the earlier it is caught the better your chances are of getting treatment and preventing AIDS from on setting too quickly.

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