What you need to know about HIV

What you need to know about HIV

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is passed from one person to another through transferring blood or sexual secretions.

“The most important thing is if the exposure was a high risk is to get the medications against HIV,” said Hattiesburg Clinic Infectious Diseases Luis Marcos, MD. “[It is] usually two or three medications for 28 days, and they have to be followed up by tests in the blood.”

Marcos said that the first test should be done quickly after exposure.

“After the exposure you have a 10 day period where there is no way you could know if you were infected," said Marcos. "After 10 days, the virus will stop multiplying in the blood, so that's when you can do the first test.”

According to Marcos, if you suspect your partner of having HIV it is important to get another test four weeks after exposure. The second test is used to detect all of the antibodies.

Marcos said symptoms usually show after two to three weeks of exposure.

"The symptoms are flu like symptoms like headaches, fever, muscle pain, bone pain, and a rash on your skin," said Marcos.

Symptoms then go away for a long period of time.

"You have a period of 5 to 10 years without any symptoms and then after that period of time your immune system is so weak that then you develop the problems related to aids," said Marcos.

There are approximately 35 drugs to treat HIV.

"HIV is not terminal disease anymore," said Marcos. "Most people with HIV don't die with HIV per say, they die from any other disease such as stroke, heart attack just as anybody else."

Marcos said that Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia have the highest number of new HIV cases diagnosed in the United States.

Marcos suggested that the best way to protect against the exposure of HIV is to use a condom, but protection is still not 100 percent. 

Copyright 2015 WDAM. All rights reserved.