Occupational Health & Infectious Disease
Risk Management, Portland, OR 5/7/13
HIV is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life. It can be potentially life threatening and there is no cure. However, there are medications that can dramatically slow the progression of the disease.
HIV is spread though body fluids
- Vaginal Secretions
- Breast milk
The body fluids of an infected person must enter the blood stream of an uninfected person in order for that person to become infected. It is most commonly spread though unprotected sex and needle sticks.
Signs & Symptoms
There are different stages of infection. In the first stage, symptoms typically appear a month or two after the virus enters the body. These symptoms are flu-like and can include:
- Muscle soreness
- Sore throat
- Mouth or genital sores
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Joint pain
- Night sweats
What to do if you think you may have come in contact with infected body fluids.
Call your doctor right away. Let them know the situation and determine if you should be tested. Once HIV enters your body, your body begins to fight the infection. Your body does this by making antibodies. The tests done to confirm infection look for these antibodies. It can take up to 12 weeks or more for your body to produce a detectable amount of antibodies.
Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). HIV/AIDS. http://www.mayoclinic.com/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). HIV/AIDS. http://www.cdc.gov/