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How do I know if I have HIV?

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is found in the blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk of people living with HIV. HIV is most commonly passed through unprotected sex (sex without using a condom) or sharing needles. Anyone who has had unprotected sex or has shared needles should consider getting an HIV antibody test and HIV counseling.


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You might have HIV and still feel perfectly healthy. The only way to know for sure if you are infected or not is to be tested.


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How can I protect myself?

  • Don’t share needles and syringes used to inject drugs, steroids, vitamins, or for tattooing or body piercing.

  • Abstain from sexual intercourse, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and you know is uninfected.

  • Correct and consistent use of the male latex condom can reduce the risk of transmission. However, no protective method is 100 percent effective, and condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection. The more sex partners you have, the greater your risk of getting HIV or other diseases passed through sex.

  • Condoms used with a lubricant are less likely to break. Condoms must be used correctly and consistently to be effective and protective. Incorrect use can lead to condom slippage or breakage, thus diminishing the protective effect. F

  • Don’t share razors or toothbrushes because they may have the blood of another person on them.

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