In short, the answer is “yes.” You could have HIV in your blood for years and not have a clue. Your best friend could have it and you’d never know.
You could feel sick for a week, think it’s the flu, and not realize you have AIDS.
Seems crazy — everybody has heard about HIV and AIDS, right? But most people don’t know much more about the diseases, and there’s plenty of wrong ideas people have about them.
That’s why so many people pass HIV to others when they have sex or share needles. It’s not like they’re evil. They just don’t know.
It may sound strange, but check this out: There’s nothing to fear from HIV.
HIV is an example of a viral infection. You get colds and the flu from other viral infections, and nobody freaks out over them.
Don’t get us wrong: HIV is a dangerous infection if it’s not treated. It’s the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), which is a much more serious progression of the illness.
But today, we have medications to treat and control HIV, just like we do with diabetes and other common diseases. Sure, you probably can’t help being afraid of HIV at first. You may not know much about HIV, and everybody fears the unknown.
But once you know the facts on HIV, your fears start to drain away.
STI means sexually transmitted infection. Did you know HIV is a sexually transmitted infection?
You get an STI from having sex with somebody carrying a germ — usually a virus or bacteria — that causes the infection.
The good news is that you can protect yourself from these infections, and if you get an infection, you can get treatment.
We’ll break down some of the most common STIs (including their symptoms and treatments), how you can protect yourself, and how you can get tested for free.