Symptoms/disease

HIV and AIDS

Hiv och aids - engelska

HIV is a virus that can spread between people and cause infection. If you have the virus, you may develop a condition called AIDS. There is treatment for HIV and AIDS.

If you have HIV but are receiving HIV treatment, you will not infect others.

HIV is an abbreviation for human immunodeficiency virus.

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Symptoms

HIV is most commonly asymptomatic, meaning that there are no symptoms.

Symptoms that may appear early on

Some symptoms may appear two to three weeks after a person becomes infected.

Here are some examples of such symptoms:

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • swollen and tender lymph nodes.

Symptoms that may appear later

It can sometimes take years before symptoms appear in an infected person.

Here are some examples of such symptoms:

  • fatigue
  • night sweats
  • shingles.

When and where should I seek medical care?

Contact a healthcare centre (vårdcentral), a dermatology clinic or a sexual health clinic if you suspect you may have contracted HIV.

If you are aged 25 or younger, you can usually contact a youth guidance centre (ungdomsmottagning).

Testing for HIV is always free at all clinics.

Call 1177 for advice

Call the 1177 helpline if you need advice on what to do. Your call will be answered by a nurse. The nurse can speak both Swedish and English. Help is sometimes available in other languages. Call +46 771 11 77 00 if you are calling from a phone with a foreign number.

If urgent care is needed

If you are certain that you have been exposed to infection, contact the infectious disease clinic of a hospital immediately. You should do this, for example, if the condom broke while you were having sex with someone who has HIV but is not being treated for it.

Contact an out-of-hours service or an emergency department if the infectious disease clinic is closed.

How can I reduce my risk of getting HIV and AIDS?

Here is how you can protect yourself from HIV infection: 

  • Use a condom when having vaginal sex, anal sex or oral sex with someone who has a penis.
  • Put a condom on sex toys you put in your mouth, vagina or anus if you use them with someone else.
  • Do not share needles with anyone else. 

How HIV is transmitted

You can get HIV through blood, semen or vaginal secretions.

How children can be infected

A child can get HIV in different ways:

  • The child gets HIV from their mother during pregnancy.
  • The child gets HIV during childbirth.
  • The child gets HIV through breast milk.

The risk is very low if the mother is using anti-HIV medicines. 

How is HIV not transmitted?

You will not get HIV by having sex with someone who has HIV but is receiving treatment for it.

You cannot get HIV by hugging or kissing someone.

HIV is also not spread by using the same towel or coffee mug as someone else. 

Learning you have HIV

Learning you have HIV may be difficult to come to terms with. It may therefore be a good idea to bring a loved one along with you to the first few visits.

Treatment

There is no way to get rid of HIV completely. But there are medicines that reduce the amount of virus in your body. The treatment also prevents you from developing AIDS.

Children with HIV

All children with HIV in Sweden are treated with medicine.

Children with HIV can do the same things as other children, such as go to school and play.

Communicable Diseases Act

According to the Communicable Diseases Act, you are required to tell the person you are having sex with that you have HIV. This is called the duty to inform. Your doctor may waive your duty to inform if treatment is working well.

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