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Helpline Questions and Answers

What is HIV/AIDS?


  • H – Human
  • I- Immunodeficiency
  • V- Virus
  • HIV is the virus that causes AIDS


  • A – Acquired
  • I- Immune
  • D- Deficiency
  • S- Syndrome

AIDS is the break down of a person’s immune system and a person is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system becomes too weak to fight off bacteria and other infections.

How do I know If I have HIV?

The only sure way to know that you have the HIV virus is to GET TESTED!

HIV is the virus that damages the immune system by killing CD4 cells. A diagnosis of AIDS is given once the CD4 cell count drops to 200 or below. The problem with a person who has HIV coming in contact with the virus again is that the virus is constantly mutating. That could cause serious problems with treatment and the way the body responds to the virus. For instance, if 2 people in a sexual relationship both have HIV, it is possible that they could each have a different strain of the virus. That means that if they have unprotected sex and infect each other with their different strains, medications they are currently taking may not work as well on the different strain, and their bodies may not respond the same way to the different strain, increasing the chance of them becoming sick more quickly. That's why, even if both people in a sexual relationship have HIV, they should have protected sex. The mutation is also the main reason why there is no cure for HIV at this point.

Good information. No answer required.

Hi....I had unprotected sex 4years ago...I did not know the background of the guy....can symptoms show up after 4 sympyms are a sore throat, fatigue and a slight cough.....but I did have the flu 3 weeks ago?

Hello Anonymous writer,

First of all, I would like to apologize for being late to your response. Due to technical errors we just were unable to respond and for that I owe you an apology. However, I am ecstatic that you wrote in to us. Your question has sparked many questions from many other people for many years and personally for me it hits right at home.

HIV is a tricky virus. It will show you some symptoms of its presence but than it will lie dormant in a person’s body before revealing itself over time.

There are two periods in the stage of HIV where it will show signs of infection; and the first period is when the person is first infected. This is known as the Acute Viral Syndrome and with this syndrome it may take a few weeks after infection before a person starts showing signs which are some of the symptoms that you are experiencing. After a few weeks, it’s gone. No more symptoms, no more stress in which gives a person a false sense of hope because they begin to believe that everything is alright and continues to go on with their lives. While they are living life (as we all should) the virus continues its cycles of development causing it to increase in numbers and gives the opportunity to destroy a person’s immune system.

The second period is when the person develops the AIDS disease which occurs later down the road. However, please remember that just because a person inquires the flu virus it does not mean that they are HIV positive it could mean that they just simply have the flu.

The only sure way that a person is positive is to go and get tested. A person can get tested after 90 days of having contact with blood or semen to find out their HIV status. It’s important that everyone knows their status so they can get into treatment if they are positive. Getting tested is easy, rapid and in many cases “FREE”! So, check your Telephone directory for the nearest HIV clinic and go get tested.

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