The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), can be transmitted by exposure to body fluids. HIV is spread primarily through unprotected sex, sharing needles, and can be passed from a mother to a baby at birth.
Many people have no symptoms at all, and others come down with flu-like symptoms that may last for a couple weeks usually a few weeks after being infected.
The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should be tested for HIV at least once. Those are at increased risk for HIV should be tested at least once a year.
If you have HIV, there are medical treatments and support services that can help you stay healthy.
The CDC recommends the consistent and correct use of condoms, periodic STD testing, and never sharing needles or works.
Testing is important because early detection and treatment of HIV decreases the damage the virus can have on the immune system. It also reduces the spread of HIV to your partners.
For information on Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PREP), which may be appropriate for some people, go to: http://www.whatisprep.org.