What is AIDS? What causes AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
Over time, infection with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) can weaken the
immune system to the point that the system has difficulty fighting off
What is the Difference between HIV and AIDS?
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
How long does it take for HIV to cause AIDS?
Currently, the average time between HIV infection and the appearance of
signs that could lead to an AIDS diagnosis is 8-11 years.
What's the connection between HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases?
Having a sexually transmitted disease (STD) can increase a person's risk of
becoming infected with HIV.
How can I tell if I'm infected with HIV?
The only way to determine whether you are infected is to be tested for HIV
infection. You can't rely on symptoms to know whether or not you are
infected with HIV. Many people who are infected with HIV don't have any
symptoms at all for many years.
What are the Symptoms of HIV?
Some people newly infected with HIV will experience some "flu-like"
symptoms. Other people either do not experience "acute infection," or have
symptoms so mild that they may not notice them.
What are the Symptoms of AIDS?
There are no common symptoms for individuals diagnosed with AIDS. Since
immune system is damaged, symptoms depend on type of infection.
How is HIV Transmitted?
HIV can be transmitted from an infected person to another through:
· Blood (including menstrual blood)
· Vaginal secretions
· Breast milk
Activities That Allow HIV Transmission
· Unprotected sexual contact
· Direct blood contact, including injection drug needles, blood
transfusions, accidents in health care settings or certain blood products
· Mother to baby (before or during birth, or through breast milk)
The following "bodily fluids" are NOT infectious:
Can I get HIV from casual contact (shaking hands, hugging, using a toilet,
drinking from the same glass, or the sneezing and coughing of an infected
No. HIV is not transmitted by day to day contact in the home, the
workplace, schools, or social settings. HIV is not transmitted through
shaking hands, hugging or a casual kiss. You cannot become infected from a
toilet seat, a drinking fountain, a doorknob, dishes, drinking glasses,
food, or pets.
HIV is a fragile virus that does not live long outside the body. HIV is not
an airborne or food borne virus.
What if I test HIV positive?
If you test positive, the sooner you take steps to protect your health, the
better. Early medical treatment, a healthy lifestyle and a positive
attitude can help you stay well.
How long after a possible exposure should I be tested for HIV??
Three months -is normal for approximately 95% of the population. If you
feel any anxiety about relying on the 3-month result, by all means you
should have another test at 6 months.
What do test results mean?
A positive result means:
· You are HIV-positive (carrying the virus that causes AIDS).
· You can infect others and should try to implement precautions to
prevent doing so.
A negative result means:
· No antibodies were found in your blood at this time.
A negative result does NOT mean:
· You are not infected with HIV (if you are still in the window
· You are immune to AIDS.
· You have a resistance to infection.
· You will never get AIDS.
If I test positive, does that mean that I will die?
Testing positive for HIV means that you now carry the virus that causes
AIDS. It does not mean that you have AIDS, nor does it mean that you will
die. Although there is no cure for AIDS, many opportunistic infections that
make people sick can be controlled, prevented or eliminated. This has
substantially increased the longevity and quality of life for people living
If I test HIV negative does that mean that my partner is HIV negative also?
No. Your HIV test result reveals only your HIV status. Your negative test
result does not tell you about the HIV status of your partner(s). HIV is
not necessarily transmitted every time there is an exposure.
Is there anything I can do to stay healthy?
The short answer is yes. There are things that you can do to stay healthy.
1. Emotional support may be very important for HIV-positive people
because it breaks the isolation and provides a safe way of sharing both
feelings and practical information.
2. Medical Care: evaluation of your general health and immune function,
vaccinations and medicines to delay onset of AIDS
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