The Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a virus that attacks our immune system resulting in various complications. An individual infected with the virus will experience impairment of several body organs until he or she becomes immune deficient.

A person can contract HIV through various ways: sharing needles with an HIV-infected person, sexual intercourse, transfusion of blood that is infected with HIV, and an HIV infected mom to her child.

A person who has HIV is in danger of having AIDS in the long run. AIDS, which is the acronym for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is associated with HIV in terms of the symptoms, signs, cancers, infections, and other complications common to both.

During an early infection, a patient may experience symptoms such as flu. Most people may just ignore it and think of it as nothing severe, so they end up forgetting about it and learn that they are infected with something serious when it is already too late. That is why medical professionals advise everybody, especially the sexually-active ones, to undergo an HIV screening test.

Early detection of the disease will prevent a patient from a lot of harm caused by HIV or AIDS. Those that use needles when taking drugs, those that have had unprotected sexual intercourse, those that have an HIV-positive sexual partner, those that are infected with any sexually-transmitted disease or STD, and those that slept with sexually-active homosexual men are encouraged to take the test.

There are many HIV screening tests --- urine tests, swab tests or oral tests, and blood tests. The purpose of the test is not to detect the presence of HIV itself, but to see if there are traces of HIV antibodies released by the immune system to fight the virus. It is possible for an HIV patient to get a negative test result if his or her immune system is not able to produce sufficient antibodies to protect his or her body.

The human body may take between three weeks to three months before it starts producing enough antibodies in this situation. After this span of time lapses, a more definite test result can be taken. An HIV patient should practice caution and not go around with his or her old ways because he or she is a carrier of a very serious type of virus.

To prevent one’s self from contracting HIV, AIDS, and other sexually-transmitted diseases, one should learn to practice safe sex. Also, those that currently engage in the deed with multiple partners have a higher probability of getting infected. It is extremely important to get you and your partners tested so that you can go to a doctor immediately and undergo treatment if tested positive.