March 2, 2012
HIV is mainly transmitted through unprotected sex. But unlike many other sexually transmitted infections, there is no way to know once you've caught the virus. Contrary to popular misconception, HIV positive people show no symptoms and appear completely healthy. That means that if you are HIV positive, there will be no reliable signs or symptoms, and no way to tell if you've become infected. What makes HIV so dangerous is that if you have it and you don't know, it can get a hold in your body and destroy your immune system, allowing normal infections and diseases to become deadly. But if you know your status, you can get education and protect yourself and your partners.
HIV is not a death sentence. People can live and have lived long healthy lives years after being infected with HIV. The sooner you know your status the more effective you can be in making sure you remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. You probably won't even have to change that many things in your life. Just do what your doctor has been telling you to do for years: take care of yourself. Maintain a good diet, get enough sleep, try to lower your stress, don't do drugs, take vitamins, see your doctor regularly, avoid things that might give you infections or illnesses.
Being HIV positive doesn't even mean you have to stop having sex, you just have to practice safer sex, meaning using condoms correctly every time. You should always practice safer sex to avoid infecting another person, because it could endanger their life.