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HIV weakens the immune system in humans. The HIV virus causes AIDS and is therefore also called the AIDS virus. HIV can be contracted through unsafe sex or through blood contact.



If you have just been infected, you may experience symptoms that resemble the flu, such as:

  • Fever
  • General discomfort
  • Rash

With an HIV infection that you have had for some time, you may suffer from:

  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal loss of weight
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Diarrhoea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash



When you are infected with HIV, you do not always necessarily have symptoms. But when the number of virus particles increases, your immune system is affected. This can happen after two years, but also after longer than ten years. You can develop symptoms such as fatigue, night sweats, a lot of weight loss for no apparent reason, fever, diarrhoea and shortness of breath. The sooner you know that you have contracted HIV, the better. Without treatment with HIV inhibitors, someone with HIV eventually develops AIDS.



You can be infected with HIV for years before you develop the symptoms of AIDS. That is why it is important that be tested regularly, preferably every 3 months. After infection with HIV, it takes six weeks to three months before it can be seen in the blood. The body then makes antibodies. So if you want to know whether you have contracted HIV after unsafe sex or a broken condom, take a blood test after three months.



If you are infected with HIV, the virus can be well suppressed with medicines (HIV inhibitors). This can prevent you from developing AIDS. Unfortunately, the HIV virus cannot yet be cured. There is also no vaccine against HIV. Treatment of HIV always takes place at an HIV treatment centre under the supervision of a doctor.

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