Campaign "10 Symptoms of HIV"

HIV does not have symptoms. The only way to know if you have HIV or not is to take an HIV test and the only way to avoid infection is using a condom. But there is something that increases the risk of getting HIV, and they're the “beliefs” that make us think that HIV can't happen to us, and that's where the risk of transmission lies. So if you "believe" you have one of the following symptoms, think again, because in that case, you could have HIV or be at risk of infection.

Symptom #1: Not believing HIV can happen to you.

HIV does not have symptoms. The only way to know if you have HIV or not is to take an HIV test and the only way to avoid infection is using a condom. But there is something that increases the risk of getting HIV, and they're the “beliefs” that make us think that HIV can't happen to us, and that's where the risk of transmission lies. So if you "believe" you have one of the following symptoms, think again, because in that case, you could have HIV or be at risk of infection.

Symptom #2 Having unprotected sex.

HIV does not have symptoms. But having bareback sex (without a condom) is a clear symptom that you could get HIV. If you regularly do it without a condom, it's a question of how long until you catch HIV. Consider that one in ten gay men live with HIV, so sooner or later you will have sex with someone HIV-positive. Moreover, precisely those people who believe they'll never be infected with HIV never get tested and, in turn, have a higher probability of being infected and not knowing it.

Symptom #3 Believing that your stable partner will never infect you.

HIV does not have symptoms. But there are people who think that they have to use a condom with everyone except their partner.  Why? “Because my partner loves me”; “Because he would never have sex with another person”; “...and if my partner did, it'd be with a condom.”  But the reality is different: We don't know what our partners do or don't do when they're not with us and the majority of people get infected by their committed partner, mainly in “closed” relationships, since those in “open” relationship usually more conscious of the risks or at least there is certain freedom to talk about it.

Symptom #4 Taking drugs and thinking you are in control.

HIV does not have symptoms. But taking drugs reduces our perception of risk, and even our memory of it. In other words, when we take drugs, we may not even remember that we engaged in risky behavior, that we may have exposed ourselves to HIV and not even being aware of the need to get tested.

Symptom #5 Believing that beauty is inhospitable to HIV.

HIV does not have symptoms. But often we use physical appearance to determine someone's health and this, in the case of HIV, is a mistake. People who are infected with HIV do not have any special or visible symptomology. Many years can pass without any symptoms, depending on how long it takes one's immune system to weaken. So, if a guy looks hot, with HIV he’ll still be hot but he could infect us.

Symptom #6 Saying “I only have unprotected sex with you.”

HIV does not have symptoms. But if we could choose a social symptom, we would say for certain that thinking just because you’ve fallen for a guy, that he can't give you HIV, of course he can transmit the virus. In fact someone who says, “I bareback only with you,” is someone who, typically, has already done it bareback with more people. The probability that he has HIV is even greater, as he probably made more than one exception, with more than one other person.

Symptom #7 Assuming that if he had HIV, he would tell you.

HIV does not have symptoms. But what does have symptoms is the social stigma against those who have HIV. Because of this, it is logical that someone HIV-positive would not want to tell you. The reasons for not disclosing can be the fear of rejection or loss of that loved one. It is a question for each couple to determine their level of trust and sincerity, but before sincerity is our own personal health, something that is our exclusive responsibility.  Having unprotected sex and getting infected is the exclusive responsibility of he who gets infected; anything else is just avoiding the issue.

Symptom #8 Not taking an HIV test.

HIV does not have symptoms.  But taking risks and not getting tested is a symptom of potential HIV infection. One in three guys with HIV don't know they have it; it's a high proportion. In fact, the HIV rates continue rising and, contrary to what people think, it’s not because of the known HIV infections but rather the unknown HIV infections—those men who don't know if they have it or not, and all because they did not want to take an HIV test.

Symptom #9 Skip using a condom when you're feeling down.

HIV does not have symptoms. But low self-esteem is a symptom of being in danger of HIV infection.  How often does it happen that when we're down, that we just don't care about anything? And not using a condom is the least of our worries in that moment... Think again, because that decision that lasts a few seconds will cost us an infection with grave consequences for our immune system for the rest of our life.

Symptom #10 Read this campaign and think “that’s got nothing to do with me.”

HIV does not have symptoms. It’s not news, we’ve spent years or decades saying, “Use a condom”, and “Get tested.” We could say this standing on our heads, but we can’t be any clearer. We know we’re a broken record and that many people are tired of the message. But the reality is the HIV rate for gays hasn’t stopped climbing, and gays already have the highest HIV rate. There are as many new infections for straights as for gays.... however; gays only represent around 10% of the population, so the disproportionate rate keeps us playing that broken record... Put it on, put it on me, and enjoy!!!