If you think you might have HIV infection, you're likely to start by seeing your family doctor. You may be referred to an infectious disease specialist.
What you can do
Before your appointment, you might want to write a list answering the following questions:
- How do you think you were exposed to HIV?
- What are your symptoms?
- Do you have risk factors, such as participating in unprotected anal sex or using intravenous drugs?
- What prescription drugs or supplements do you take?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will ask you questions about your health and lifestyle. He or she will also conduct a thorough physical exam, checking you for:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Lesions on your skin or in your mouth
- Neurological problems
- Abnormal sounds in your lungs
- Enlarged organs in your abdomen
What you can do in the meantime
If you think you might have HIV infection, there are some precautions you can take to protect yourself and others before your appointment.
May. 20, 2014
- Have only protected sexual intercourse.
- Inject drugs with a clean needle only, and don't share it with others.
- What is HIV/AIDS. AIDS.gov. http://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- FDA approves first medication to reduce HIV risk. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm311821.htm. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- HIV/AIDS. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/hivaids/understanding/Pages/Default.aspx. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- Bartlett JG. When to initiate antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected patients. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- Sax PE. Acute and early HIV infection: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- Pollack TM, et al. Primary care of HIV-infected adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- Bartlett JG. The stages and natural history of HIV infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- Living with HIV. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/living/index.html. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- Guidelines for prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections in HIV-infected adults and adolescents. National Institutes of Health. http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/guidelines/html/4/adult-and-adolescent-oi-prevention-and-treatment-guidelines/0. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- Neurological complications of AIDS fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/aids/detail_aids.htm. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- Eating defensively: Food safety advice for persons with AIDS. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForPatientAdvocates/HIVandAIDSActivities/ucm135844.htm. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- Natural medicines in the clinical management of HIV/AIDS. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- HIV/AIDS programs: Find HIV/AIDS care. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://hab.hrsa.gov/gethelp/index.html. Accessed Dec. 8, 2013.
- Common side effects of HIV medicines. American Family Physician. 2011;83:1456.
- Preexposure prophylaxis for the prevention of HIV infection in the United States — 2014 clinical practice guideline. Atlanta, Ga. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/guidelines/PrEPguidelines2014.pdf?elq=0a349f52dfa74f48ae554056bc0e027e&elqCampaignId=8040. Accessed May 16, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.