Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a viral infection that is acquired through vaginal, anal, or oral sex, sharing needles, contact with blood or passed to babies in the womb or through breast milk and is treatable, but not curable. HIV can be present for several years after infection without symptoms. Some symptoms include extreme fatigue, rapid weight loss, night sweats, frequent fevers, and frequent yeast infections. Aquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is diagnosed with the person with HIV's T-cells (type of white blood cells that fight infection) drop below a certain amount. 

Also know as: HIV, AIDS

How You Get It:

  • Vaginal, anal, and oral sex or gential touching with someone who has HIV
  • Sharing needles
  • Contact with infectious blood
  • Passed to babies in the womb or through the birth canal

Symptoms:

  • Can be present for several years after infected with HIV, which is the virus that causes AIDS, without symptoms
  • Extreme fatigue (tiredness) 
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Frequent fevers
  • night sweats
  • Frequent yeast infections
  • Red, brown or purplish blotches under the skin or inside the mouth, nose or eyelids

Prevention: With condom or barrier method use in some cases, abstaining from sex, using a clean needle every time with intravenous drugs or self-tatooing or piercing, regular testing to prevent passing it to partners

Testing: A rapid swab or blood test - swab tests can give results in as little as 20 minutes, positive swab tests are followed up by a second test to confirm HIV infection

Treatment:

  • Treatable, NOT curable
  • Anti-viral medicaiton can decrease the amount of the virus in the blood stream
  • People who have HIV can, and do, live long fulfilling lives and everyone has access to the same approved treatment medications

If left untreated:

  • Will continue to spread it to sex partners, even when symptoms are not present or while taking antiviral medication
  • Without proper and consistent medication, people with HIV have a more difficult time fighting off common infections
  • HIV can/will eventually develop into AIDS
  • AIDS is diagnosed when the person with HIV’s T-cells (type of white blood cells that fight infection) drop below a certain amount, indicating that they are no longer able to fight infection
  • While people do not die from AIDS, they have an increased risk of serious complications and death from common infections like the common cold or flu

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