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November 30, 2021

World AIDS Day is December 1st

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus. HIV works by attacking the body's immune system and inhibiting the body from fighting off pathogens and other foreign invaders. As a result, the person affected will be more susceptible to infections and other diseases due to a weakened immune system. If HIV is left untreated, it can eventually lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

World AIDS Day is recognized each year on December 1st. It is a day to bring the community together to heighten awareness and provide education about HIV and AIDS, support to those affected by HIV, and remember those that were lost to HIV-related diseases.

HIV is transmitted through contact with certain bodily fluids from a person with HIV who has a detectable viral load. The detectable viral load is important since individuals who maintain undetectable viral loads have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners (AIDS.Gov, 2019). For more information about how HIV is transmitted, please refer to How Is HIV Transmitted? | HIV.govExternal website

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of AIDS may include:

  • Extreme fatigue and unexplained tiredness
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Recurring fevers
  • Night sweats
  • Swelling of lymph nodes in groin, armpits, or neck
  • Diarrhea lasting more than a week
  • Pneumonia
  • Muscle aches
  • Dry cough
  • White spots on tongue or in mouth
  • Memory loss, depression, and other neurological disorders
  • Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids


Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is used for those patients that have been diagnosed with HIV infection.

For those at high risk for contracting HIV, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can be used. Description of these treatments can be found at HIV Basics | HIV.govExternal website.


Screening and early diagnosis are essential components for HIV prevention and treatment. Medicare provides HIV screenings for beneficiaries that meet certain criteria. Talk to your patients about these benefits and encourage them to schedule these screenings if they qualify.

For More Information:

CMS Preventive Services GuidelinesExternal website

Other Resources



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