HIV Awareness Day

Although the world has made significant progress since the late 1990s, HIV remains a major public health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. 

Get the Facts

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. There is currently no effective cure for HIV. But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Some groups of people in the United States are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including their sex partners and risk behaviors.

How do I know if I have HIV?

The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. Knowing your HIV status helps you make healthy decisions to prevent getting or transmitting HIV.

Are there symptoms? 

For many, yes. Most people have flu-like symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks after infection. Symptoms may last for a few days or several weeks. Having these symptoms alone doesn’t mean you have HIV. Other illnesses can cause similar symptoms. Some people have no symptoms at all. The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Rash
  • Muscle Aches
  • Night Sweats
  • Mouth Ulcers
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

When people with HIV don’t get treatment, they typically progress through three stages. But HIV treatment can slow or prevent progression of the disease. With advances in HIV treatment, progression to Stage 3 (AIDS) is less common today than in the early years of HIV.

Take Action

The only way to know your HIV status is to get tested. Knowing your status gives you powerful information to keep you healthy.

If your test result is positive, you can take medicine to treat the virus. HIV treatment reduces the amount of HIV in your blood (viral load). Taking HIV treatment as prescribed can make the viral load so low that a test can’t detect it (undetectable viral load). Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load (or staying virally suppressed) is the best way to stay healthy and protect others.

What should I expect when I go in for an HIV test? 

Your experience may be different depending on the setting.

If you get an HIV test in a health care setting or lab, the health care provider will take a sample of blood or oral fluid.

  • With a rapid test (oral fluid or finger stick), you may be able to wait for the results.
  • With a lab test, it may take several days for your results to be available.

Your health care provider may talk with you about your risk factors, answer any questions you might have, and discuss next steps.

Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or click here to contact us.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, December 1). HIV basics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from

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