About Infections

HIV 1 & 2

What is HIV?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS, if not treated. Unlike some other viruses, the human body can’t get rid of HIV completely, even with treatment. So once you get HIV, you have it for life.

HIV attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells (T cells), which help the immune system fight off infections. Untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body, making the person more likely to get other infections or infection-related cancers. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. These opportunistic infections or cancers can then overwhelm the immune system, which signals that the person has AIDS, the last stage of HIV infection.

No effective cure currently exists, but with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART. If taken the right way, every day - this medicine can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV, keep them healthy and greatly lower their chance of infecting others. Before the introduction of ART in the mid-1990s, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Today, someone diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is far advanced can live nearly as long as someone who does not have HIV.

Identifying the symptoms

A number of symptoms associated with the flu may be the first to arise as early signs of HIV. These include:

  • headache
  • fever
  • tiredness
  • swollen lymph nodes (generally in the neck)
  • rash

Other possible symptoms are muscle and joint pain, sore throat, and ulcers in the mouth or on the genitals. Some people also experience night sweats, diarrhoea and symptoms such as weight loss and mouth ulcers.

Some people have no symptoms for years until the disease progresses to AIDS. If you have had unprotected sex, it is important to get yourself tested. .

What Should I do if I test positive?

After receiving a positive diagnosis, a follow-up test should be. If the follow-up test is also positive, it means you are HIV-positive.

It is important that you start medical care and begin HIV treatment as soon as you are diagnosed with HIV. Anti-retroviral therapy or ART (taking medicines to treat HIV infection) is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long they’ve had the virus or how healthy they are. It slows the progression of HIV and helps protect your immune system. ART can keep you healthy for many years and greatly reduces your chance of transmitting HIV to sex partners if taken the right way, every day.

To lower your risk of transmitting HIV,

  • Take medicines to treat HIV (antiretroviral therapy or ART) the right way every day.
  • Use condoms the right way every time you have sex. 
  • If your partner is HIV-negative, encourage them to talk to their health care provider to see if taking daily medicine to prevent HIV (called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP) is right for them.
  • If you think your partner might have been recently exposed to HIV—for example, if the condom breaks during sex and you aren’t virally suppressed—they should talk to a health care provider right away (within 3 days) about taking medicines (called post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP) to prevent getting HIV.
  • Get tested and treated for STDs and encourage your partner to do the same.

Receiving a diagnosis of HIV can be a life-changing event. People can feel many emotions—sadness, hopelessness, and even anger. Allied health care providers and social service providers, often available at your health care provider’s office, will have the tools to help you work through the early stages of your diagnosis and begin to manage your HIV.

Talking to others who have HIV may also be helpful. Find a local HIV support group. Learn about how other people living with HIV have handled their diagnosis.

What should I do if I test negative?

A negative result doesn’t necessarily mean that you don't have HIV. That's because of the window period— the time between when a person gets HIV and when a test can accurately detect it. The window period varies from person to person and is also different depending upon the type of HIV test. 

  • Most HIV tests are antibody tests. Antibodies are produced by your immune system when you’re exposed to viruses like HIV or bacteria. HIV antibody tests look for these antibodies to HIV in your blood or oral fluid. The soonest an antibody test will detect infection is 3 weeks. Most (approximately 97%), but not all, people will develop detectable antibodies within 3 to 12 weeks (21 to 84 days) of infection.
  • A combination, or fourth-generation, test looks for both HIV antibodies and antigens. Antigens are foreign substances that cause your immune system to activate. The antigen is part of the virus itself and is present during acute HIV infection (the phase of infection right after people are infected but before they develop antibodies to HIV).

Most, but not all people, will make enough antigens and antibodies for fourth-generation or combination tests to accurately detect infection 2 to 6 weeks (13 to 42 days) after infection.  

Ask your health care provider about the window period for the test you’re taking. If you get an HIV test within 3 months after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again in 3 more months to be sure.

If you learned you were HIV-negative the last time you were tested, you can only be sure you’re still negative if you haven’t had a potential HIV exposure since your last test. If you’re sexually active, continue to take actions to prevent HIV, like using condoms the right way every time you have sex and taking medicines to prevent HIV if you’re at high risk. 

For more information

For more information about HIV visit the CDC website:

To speak with a trained STD counsellor, contact the CDC National Hotline at:

Phone: 1 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) (24 hours)

Email: cdcinfo@cdc.go

 

Syphilis

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by an infection with bacteria known as Treponema pallidum. Like other STDs, syphilis can be spread by any type of sexual contact. Syphilis can also be spread from an infected mother to the fetus during pregnancy or to the baby at the time of birth.

The occurrence of syphilis has been noted for centuries. It can cause long-term damage to different organs if not properly treated.

You can get syphilis by direct contact with a syphilitic sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Sores can be found on the penis, vagina, anus, rectum, or on the lips and in the mouth. Syphilis can also be spread from an infected mother to her unborn baby.

Identifying the symptoms

Syphilis has been called ‘the great imitator’ because it has so many possible symptoms, many of which look like symptoms from other diseases. The painless syphilis sore that you would get after you are first infected can be confused for an ingrown hair, zipper cut, or other seemingly harmless bump. The non-itchy body rash that develops during the second stage of syphilis can show up on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet, all over your body, or in just a few places. Syphilis can also affect the eye and can lead to permanent blindness. This is called ocular syphilis. You could also get syphilis and have very mild symptoms or none at all.

The average time between acquisition of syphilis and the start of the first symptom is 21 days, but can range from 10 to 90 days.

What Should I do if I test positive?

If tested positive for syphilis, there are initial steps that need to be taken.  There are no home remedies or over-the-counter drugs that will cure syphilis, but syphilis is easy to cure in its early stages. A single injection of long acting penicillin will cure a person who has primary, secondary or early dormant syphilis. Three doses of long acting penicillin at weekly intervals are recommended for individuals with late dormant syphilis or dormant syphilis of unknown duration. Treatment will kill the syphilis bacterium and prevent further damage, but it will not repair damage already done.

If left untreated it can have serious long-term effects including heart failure, shooting pains, dementia and widespread ulcers. Syphilis can also cause blindness, brain damage and heart disease. 

What should I do if I test Negative?

Following a negative test result, people can still be infected at a later date.  Focus on prevention methods such as the correct and consistent use of latex condoms.  This can reduce the risk of syphilis - but only when the infected area or site of potential exposure is protected.  However, a syphilitic sore outside of the area covered by a latex condom can still allow transmission, so caution should be exercised even when using a condom.

The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis, is to abstain from sexual contact or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.

Partner-based interventions include partner notification – a critical component in preventing the spread of syphilis. 

It is important to get tested regularly for Syphilis and if positive, get treated immediately. 

For more information

For more information about Syphilis visit the CDC website:

To speak with a trained STD counsellor, contact the CDC National Hotline at:

Phone: 1 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) (24 hours)

Email: cdcinfo@cdc.go

 

Herpes 1 & 2

What is Herpes 1 & 2?

HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus) I and II are two common, closely related, viral infections, spread through direct skin contact or by vaginal, anal or oral sex. Many people with HSV do not realize they have an infection, often confusing outbreaks on the skin with other conditions, such as ingrown hairs or acne. Although there is currently no cure for HSV, the symptoms can be managed with medication, causing outbreaks to lessen over time.

Oral herpes, usually caused by HSV I, often appears as cold sores or fever blisters on the lips or in the mouth. Because even a casual kiss from someone with a cold sore can transmit the virus, HSV I is incredibly common. It is estimated that 50-80% of adults have had oral herpes at some time and still harbor the virus.

Genital herpes is usually caused by HSV II. It is less common, but the CDC estimates that of those aged 14-49 in the U.S., 1 in 6 has genital herpes. Roughly 90% of people with HSV I do not have obvious symptoms or know that they are shedding the virus. This makes it a persistent threat that often goes undiagnosed.

Identifying the symptoms

Most individuals infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2 are asymptomatic, or have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed or are mistaken for another skin condition. As a result, 87.4% of infected individuals remain unaware of their infection.  When symptoms do occur, they typically appear as one or more vesicles on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. The average incubation period after exposure is 4 days (range, 2 to 12).  The vesicles break and leave painful ulcers that may take two to four weeks to heal. Experiencing these symptoms is referred to as having an "outbreak" or episode.

Clinical manifestations of genital herpes differ between the first and recurrent outbreaks of HSV. The first outbreak of herpes is often associated with a longer duration of herpetic lesions, increased viral shedding (making HSV transmission more likely) and systemic symptoms including fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, or headache. 

Recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes are common, in particular during the first year of infection. Approximately half of patients who recognize recurrences have prodromal symptoms, such as mild tingling or shooting pains in the legs, hips or buttocks which occur hours to days before the eruption of herpetic lesions. Symptoms of recurrent outbreaks are typically shorter in duration and less severe than the first outbreak of genital herpes.

Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over time. Recurrences and subclinical shedding are much less frequent for genital HSV-1 infection than for genital HSV-2 infection.

What Should I do if I test positive?

Infection with HSV I & II is extremely common. However, it is important that you see a physician or health care provider to determine your status. Although there is no cure for HSV, there are medications available to manage symptoms and suppress the virus to reduce your risk of infecting others. You should also inform all current and past sexual partners about your results so they know to get tested as well.

Left untreated, the herpes virus can cause meningitis, and exposed blisters can increase the risk of acquiring HIV.

What should I do if I test Negative?

A negative result indicates that at the time of collection, the presence of HSV was not detected in the sample provided. However, if the above symptoms present or you change your habits, you should consider retesting.

For more information

For more information about Herpes visit the CDC website:

To speak with a trained STD counsellor, contact the CDC National Hotline at:

Phone: 1 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) (24 hours)

Email: cdcinfo@cdc.gov

 

Chlamydia/Gonorrhea

What are Chlamydia/Gonorrhoea?

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are separate but distinct bacteria that are passed from partner to partner during vaginal, anal or oral sex. They are different infections but are often tested together because they travel together, are frequently found together in the body, and have similar side effects and cross-over symptoms.  

In the U.S., there are an estimated 1.4 million cases of chlamydia reported annually, with an increased detection rate in sexually active women aged 16-24. The overwhelming majority of positive chlamydia cases reported are in women; however, according to the CDC, more women are screened for the infection on a regular basis. The CDC anticipates that with more sensitive testing methodologies and easier collection methods now available for men (i.e. urine), we will see a rise in positive results among both symptomatic and asymptomatic men.

Gonorrhea, although not as prevalent as chlamydia, is the second most reported identifiable STD in the US. From 2012-2013, the CDC reported the following information on gonorrhoea:

  • The gonorrhoea rate decreased among women, but increased among men
  • In 2013, for the first time ever, the total number of reported gonorrhea cases was higher in men than in women
  • The rate decreased among persons aged 15-24, but increased among persons over age 25

A notable concern for the CDC, gonorrhoea has progressively developed resistance to each of the antibiotics historically used for treatment. Although the CDC has updated treatment recommendations to counter this trend, this emerging threat highlights the need for continued surveillance of gonorrhea antimicrobial susceptibility and testing post-treatment to ensure antibiotic effectiveness.

Identifying the symptoms

Gonorrhea

Not all people infected with gonorrhea have symptoms, so knowing when to seek treatment can be tricky. When symptoms do occur, they are often within two to 10 days after exposure, but they can take up to 30 days to develop and include the following:

Gonorrhea symptoms in women

  • Greenish yellow or whitish discharge from the vagina
  • Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Burning when urinating
  • Conjunctivitis (red, itchy eyes)
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Spotting after intercourse
  • Swelling of the vulva (vulvitis)
  • Burning in the throat (due to oral sex)
  • Swollen glands in the throat (due to oral sex)

In some women, symptoms are so mild that they go unnoticed.

Many women with gonorrhea discharge think they have a yeast infection and self-treat with over-the-counter yeast infection drug. Because vaginal discharge can be a sign of a number of different problems, it is best to always seek the advice of a doctor to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

Gonorrhea symptoms in men

  • Greenish yellow or whitish discharge from the penis
  • Burning when urinating
  • Burning in the throat (due to oral sex)
  • Painful or swollen testicles
  • Swollen glands in the throat (due to oral sex)

 In men, symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after infection.

Chlamydia

It is not easy to tell if you are infected with chlamydia, since symptoms are not always apparent. But when they do occur, they are usually noticeable within one to three weeks of contact and can include the following:

Chlamydia symptoms in women:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge that may have an odor
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Painful periods
  • Abdominal pain with fever
  • Pain when having sex
  • Itching or burning in or around the vagina
  • Pain when urinating 

Chlamydia symptoms in men:

  • Small amounts of clear or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis
  • Painful urination
  • Burning and itching around the opening of the penis
  • Pain and swelling around the testicles

What Should I do if I test positive?

Remember that infection with chlamydia and/or gonorrhoea is very common and not unusual. However, you should seek treatment. Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are very treatable with antibiotics. After you have your results, please share them with a healthcare professional to establish the next steps of care.

Repeat infection is very common, particularly with chlamydia. This causes an even greater risk for potential long-term complications. The CDC recommends retesting 3 months post-treatment; a negative result establishes the treatment was effective.

Because you can transmit your infection to partners at this time, you should abstain from sexual activity until after treatment. You should also inform all current and past sexual partners about your results so they know to get tested as well. 

What should I do if I test Negative?

A negative result indicates that at the time of collection, the presence of chlamydia and gonorrhea were not detected in the sample provided. However, if the above symptoms present – or you change your sexual behaviour - or , you should consider retesting.  

For more information

For more information about Chlamydia and Gonorrhea visit the CDC website:

To speak with a trained STD counsellor, contact the CDC National Hotline at:

Phone: 1 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) (24 hours)

Email: cdcinfo@cdc.gov

 

Hepatitis B & C

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis B 

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B is transmitted when blood, semen, or another body fluid from a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth. For some people, Hepatitis B is an acute, or short-term, illness but for others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection. Risk for chronic infection is related to age at infection: approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with 2%–6% of adults. Chronic Hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, like cirrhosis or liver cancer. The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began in the United States, Hepatitis C was also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants.

Hepatitis C can be either “acute” or “chronic.” Acute Hepatitis C virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the Hepatitis C virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, or even death.

There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviours that can spread the disease, especially injection drug use.

Identifying the symptoms

Hepatitis B

Most people who have an acute Hepatitis B infection don't have symptoms. But if you do have symptoms, they may include:

  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue).
  • Mild fever.
  • Headache.
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Constant discomfort on the right side of the belly under the rib cage. (That's where the liver is located.)
  • Tan-colored bowel movements (stools).
  • Dark urine.
  • Jaundice. This means that the skin and whites of the eyes look yellow. Jaundice is a major sign of liver damage. It usually appears after other symptoms have started to go away.
  • Most people who have chronic infection have no symptoms.
  • You may get infected without knowing it. You may not find out that you have an infection until you have a routine blood test or donate blood. 

Finding out that a family member or someone you live with is infected also may cause you to be tested. Some people never know they have hepatitis B until a doctor finds that they have cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Hepatitis C

Most people who are infected with Hepatitis C - even people who have been infected for a while-usually don't have symptoms.

If symptoms do develop, they may include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Joint pain.
  • Belly pain.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Sore muscles.
  • Dark urine.
  • Jaundice, a condition in which the skin and the whites of the eyes look yellow.

A Hepatitis C infection can cause damage to your liver, causing cirrhosis (scarring of the liver). If you develop cirrhosis, you may have:

  • Redness on the palms of your hands caused by expanded small blood vessels.
  • Clusters of blood vessels just below the skin that look like tiny red spiders and usually appear on your chest, shoulders, and face.
  • Swelling of your belly, legs, and feet.
  • Shrinking of the muscles.
  • Bleeding from enlarged veins in your digestive tract, which is called intravenous bleeding.
  • Damage to your brain and nervous system, which is called encephalopathy. This damage can cause symptoms such as confusion and memory and concentration problems.

Many other health problems are linked with long-term cirrhosis. For more information, see the topic ‘cirrhosis’. There also are many other conditions with similar symptoms, such as other liver infections and liver damage caused by drinking too much alcohol.

What Should I do if I test positive?

Hepatitis B

If you have tested positive for Hepatitis B, contact your health care provider immediately for treatment options.

Treatment of hepatitis B infection depends on how active the virus is and whether you are at risk for liver damage such as cirrhosis.

Treatment of short-term (acute) hepatitis B

Treatment depends on whether you:

  • Have been recently infected with the virus.
  • Have the symptoms of an acute infection.
  • Have chronic infection.

If you have not gotten a Hepatitis B vaccine and think you may have been exposed to the virus, you should get a shot of Hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) and the first of three shots of the Hepatitis B vaccine. 

It is important to receive this treatment within 7 days after a needle stick, and within 2 weeks after sexual contact that may have exposed you to the virus. The sooner you receive treatment after exposure, the better the treatment works.

If you have the symptoms of acute infection, treatment with antiviral medicine usually isn't needed. Home treatment-such as eating well, drinking plenty of fluids, and avoiding alcohol and drugs- usually will relieve your symptoms.

In some cases, you may be given medicine to treat an acute infection. But using medicine usually isn't done unless a person is very sick.

Treatment of long-term (chronic) Hepatitis B

Treatment depends on how active the virus is in your body and your chance of liver damage. The goal of treatment is to stop liver damage by keeping the virus from multiplying.

Antiviral medicine is used if the virus is active and you are at risk for liver damage. Medicine slows the ability of the virus to multiply.

Antiviral treatment isn't given to everyone who has chronic Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C

If you have tested positive for Hepatitis C, contact your health care provider immediately for treatment options.

You may or may not receive treatment for Hepatitis C, depending on:

  • How damaged your liver is.
  • Other health conditions you have.
  • How much h Hepatitis C virus you have in your body.
  • What type (genotype) of h Hepatitis C you have.

The medicines used to treat Hepatitis C can cause serious side effects, are expensive, and don't work for everyone.

Being diagnosed with Hepatitis C can change your life. You may need help and support to cope with the illness. 

Treatment of short-term (acute) Hepatitis C

Most people who have acute Hepatitis C don't get treated, because they don't know that they have the virus.

If a person knows that he or she may have been exposed to the virus-such as a health care worker who is stuck by a needle-acute Hepatitis C can be found early. Most people who are known to have an acute Hepatitis C infection get treated with medicine. In these cases, treatment may help prevent long-term (chronic) infection, although there is still some debate over when to begin treatment and how long to treat acute Hepatitis C. 

Treatment of long-term (chronic) hepatitis C

It is common for people to live with Hepatitis C for years without knowing they have it, because they do not have symptoms. So, most people diagnosed with Hepatitis C find out that they already have long-term, chronic infection.

Treatment with a combination of antiviral medicines can fight the viral infection and prevent serious liver problems like cirrhosis or liver cancer. They are used for 12 weeks to a year and help your body get rid of the virus.

Whether or not you take medicines to treat Hepatitis C, you will need to have routine blood tests to help your doctor know how well your liver is working.

Some people who at first decide not to have treatment later decide they want to have it.  Your doctor can help you decide whether medicines are right for you. 

What should I do if I test Negative?

A negative result indicates that at the time of collection, the presence of Hepatitis B and C were not detected in the sample provided. However, if the above symptoms present or you change your sexual habits, you should consider retesting.  

For more information

For more information about Hepatitis B and C visit the CDC website:

To speak with a trained STD counsellor, contact the CDC National Hotline at:

Phone: 1 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) (24 hours)

Email: cdcinfo@cdc.go

 

Bacterial Vaginosis

What is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an infection of the vagina. When healthy, the vagina contains a balance of both ‘good’ & ‘bad’ bacteria. Normally, the ‘good’, healthy bacteria keep the ‘bad’, unhealthy version under control. A BV infection occurs when the normal balance is upset, and the ‘bad’ bacteria outgrow their healthy counterpart.

Most BV infections are mild and often disappear on their own. Some women experience BV and recover without ever knowing that they were infected. However, some infections can be more serious and require treatment to remedy. Left untreated, BV may increase your risk of becoming infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or HIV.

Bacterial Vaginosis Symptoms:

  • Women with Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) may have an abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor.
  • Vaginal discharge is usually white or gray; it can be thin.
  • Women with BV may have burning during urination.
  • Women with BV may have itching around the outside of the vagina.
  • The overgrowth of bacteria probably takes days or weeks to develop, depending on the cause of the change in vaginal bacteria.

You should get tested if:

You should consider testing for Bacterial Vaginosis if you experience the following:

For more information

For more information about Hepatitis B and C visit the CDC website:

To speak with a trained STD counsellor, contact the CDC National Hotline at:

Phone: 1 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) (24 hours)

Email: cdcinfo@cdc.go

 

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

Who should test for COVID-19?

Currently there are two main reasons someone would be tested for the Coronavirus: having symptoms or exposure to an infected person.

The main symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused be Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.  These look alot like the flu and the common cold, so it takes a test kit to determine if you have the virus.

To speak with a trained STD counsellor, contact the CDC National Hotline at:

Phone: 1 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) (24 hours)

Email: cdcinfo@cdc.go