HIV & AIDS Information

Award winning clinic for healthcare and business quality standards in 2016 & 2018

Here you can find out more about HIV and AIDS

  • Should we say AIDS or HIV?
  • Does HIV produce symptoms?
  • How is HIV transmitted?
  • In which bodily fluids is HIV present?
  • So, which routes are irrelevant in HIV?
  • How can I protect myself?
Should we say AIDS or HIV?

The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is the end process when defences have been destroyed by the HIV virus (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and when treatment has not been used to control it. This virus reduces our defences against germs that produce infections. There are two types: HIV 1 and HIV 2. In Europe, more than 99% of cases are type 1. In Africa type 2 is more common.

Does HIV produce symptoms?

Normally there are no symptoms once a person in infected. Symptoms associated with HIV infections are very generalised and have a lot in common with cold or flu symptoms. So having cold symptoms does not mean that the person has HIV. You can only catch sex if there has been a risk for HIV.

The acute infection stage (seroconversion):
This is the period from when HIV enters the body up until antibodies against the virus are produced.
This stage normally lasts 2 to 3 months.
In the vast majority of cases this period goes unnoticed, but occasionally there are clinical signs and symptoms similar to flu (fever, unwellness, sore throat, swollen glands).
However, having flu after sex does not necessarily mean that the person has caught HIV. It is much more likely that they have caught the flu. Also, HIV does not produce nasal mucous.

The asymptomatic stage:
This is the stage between seroconversion and the first signs of immuodeficiency.
It is impossible to know whether someone is infected with HIV from their appearance, because in this stage the patient is completely well.
This period can go on for some 10 years.

This is the last stage of the HIV infection and is seen only when the patient does not receive treatment for HIV.
It is characterised by a group of diseases such as the Wasting Syndrome or opportunistic infections, infections we see only when the body is abnormally immunodepressed that normally would be easy to fight off.
HIV does not produce diseases in itself, rather as a result of the immunocompromised state it produces.
This disease can be serious enough to cause death of a patient with AIDS.
In this stage some tumours may appear such as Kaposi’s sarcoma.

How is HIV transmitted?
  • Having sex with infected people, especially in penetration without a condom. The risk of HIV in oral sex is much lower.
  • Infected blood being inoculated into fresh wounds or into the eyes, or in poorly controlled blood transfusions
  • From an infected mother to her baby during labour 
  • Sharing needles with an infected person
  • In tattoos with infected needles
In which bodily fluids is HIV present?
  • Semen and precum
  • Vaginal fluids
  • Blood
  • Mother’s milk
So, which routes are irrelevant in HIV?
  • Saliva
  • Sweat
  • Tears
  • Urine
  • Faeces

(except those which are contamintaed with blood, semen, precum, vaginal fluids or mother’s milk.)

Therefore we do not see HIV through kissing, hugging, stroking or shaking hands. Nor in sharing cutlery, food or drinks, using the toilet, touching money, public phones, going to the cinema, in the gym, at work, going to school, casual contacts, going to hospital or to see the doctor, on public transport or sharing bathrooms or even a bath with other HIV positive people, nor through mosquito bites or sharing clothes.
You cannot catch HIV by donating blood or doing blood tests as all materials are sterile and single-use.

How can I protect myself?

There is still no effective HIV vaccine so our only defence is to understand the virus. Protection depends on the route of transmission.

  • Use protection – by using a condom as a protective barrier with HIV positive people or people whose HIV status is unknown.
  • If you truly believe that you have been infected by HIV it is better to find out as soon as possible so that a medical team can start to protect your health
  • If you think you have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours, you may be a candidate to receive prophylactic treatment (preventative medication). Write to us straight away or go straight to the nearest Emergency Room.

Write to Open House team

Responsible: CENTRO MÉDICO OPENHOUSE, S.L.U. Purpose: To respond to the queries mentioned. Authorisation: when the interested party gives consent. Recipients: Data will not be shared with third parties except under legal obligation. Rights: You have the right to access, rectify and supress your data, and other rights as indicated in the further information found in, which you may exercise by writing to the processing responsible person

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Caution! It is important to read about the Window Period before doing tests UNLESS YOU HAVE WORRYING SYMPTOMS

Please trust our clinical judgement. Open House has done nearly 72.000 STI tests.

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Our experience in HIV testing:


HIV tests performed:


Cases of HIV diagnosed:


Percentage of false positive results (errors)

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Calle Atocha 117, Madrid

Metro: L1 Atocha / Antón Martín

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