HIV and AIDS

The HIV in body fluids such as blood, semen or vaginal fluids usually enters the body through very small wounds.

Overview

The HIV in body fluids such as blood, semen or vaginal fluids usually enters the body through very small wounds. The body’s first response is flu-like symptoms, followed after months or years by serious diseases that can lead to death. With modern therapy, however, the disease can be kept in check for life.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • HI virus (HIV)
    • Transmission through blood, semen, vaginal fluids
    • Small injuries to the skin / mucous membranes
      • Can be passed on to the child by the mother during birth
    • The virus destroys white blood cells (immune system cells)
      • Protection against infection is reduced

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Blood test
Possible therapies
  • Medication

If therapy is started at an early stage and medication is used consistently, HIV patients today have an almost normal life expectancy.

What can I do myself?

Generally, the safer sex rules still apply:

  • Always use a condom or femidom during sexual intercourse outside a committed partnership
  • Don't get sperm or blood (including menstrual blood) in your mouth, and don’t swallow

Anonymous HIV testing can be done by the family doctor or in special centres (see “Further information”).

When to see a doctor?

  • After having high-risk sex, i.e. in particular after unprotected sex outside a committed partnership (casual sex)
  • If your sexual partner is known or diagnosed to have a sexually transmitted infection or disease
  • Fever and signs of illness after unprotected sex

Further information

Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)
www.bag.admin.ch

www.lovelife.ch

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Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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