The stages of HIV infection & HIV testing

Last updated 9/13/2016; last reviewed 9/9/2016   Key Points Without treatment, HIV infection advances in stages, getting worse over time. The three stages of HIV infection are (1) acute HIV infection, (2) chronic HIV infection, and (3) acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV can be transmitted (spread to others) during any stage of infection, but the risk is greatest during acute HIV infection. There is no cure for HIV infection, but HIV medicines (called antiretrovirals or ARVs) can prevent HIV from advancing to AIDS. HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

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