HIV / AIDS
What is HIV?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This is the virus
that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). When HIV
enters the body, it invades many cells and eventually destroys
them. Some white blood cells that are an important part of the
immune response are destroyed. Then the person can no longer fight
What is AIDS?
AIDS is a result of HIV infection. By the time people with HIV
develop AIDS, the virus has damaged their immune systems. They
then develop diseases that most healthy people can normally
resist or control called opportunistic infections; such as
certain pneumonia's, thrush or recurrences of childhood
infections. They may also suffer from cancers rarely found among
people with healthy bodily defenses. A person is diagnosed with
AIDS, the end stage of HIV disease, when they develop an
opportunistic infection or their T-Cell Count falls below
How is HIV spread?
- By having vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected person
- By sharing needles or syringes with an infected person
- During pregnancy, birth or breast feeding from an infected mother to her baby
- Only four certain body fluids of an HIV-infected person can spread the virus:
- Semen (including pre-ejaculate)
- Vaginal fluid
- Breast milk
- HIV infection can be prevented.
- There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. Currently there are several
drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS, however they only slow down the
progression of the disease.
- You cannot tell if a person is infected with HIV or not. HIV
infected people usually look and feel healthy and may not even
know that they are infected. Only a blood test can tell if
someone is infected with HIV. It can take up to 10 years for
symptoms to appear and the symptoms are like many common
illnesses -- swollen glands, coughing and fever.
- HIV is NOT spread by casual contact, nor does it spread
through the air or in the water. For example: hugging or
kissing, coughs, sneezes, sweat, tears, mosquitoes, eating food
prepared or served by someone else, toilets or showers, eating
utensils, drinking fountains.
- It's not who you are but what you do that puts you at risk for HIV.
- Use what you know to protect yourself and share that knowledge with family and friends.