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

HIV attacks the body's immune system. The immune system protects the body from infections and disease, but has no clear way to protect it from HIV. Over time, most people infected with HIV become less able to fight off the germs that we are all exposed to every day. Many of these germs do not usually make a healthy person sick, but they can cause life-threatening infections and cancers in a person whose immune system has been weakened by HIV.

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

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus. You may hear that someone is "HIV infected", "has HIV infection", or "has HIV disease." These are all terms that mean the person has HIV in his or her body and can pass the virus to other people.

People infected with HIV may have no symptoms for 10 or more years. They may not know they are infected. An HIV test is the only way to find out if you have HIV. See HIV Counseling and Testing for information and resources on HIV testing in New York State. HIV spreads when infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk gets into the bloodstream of another person through: direct entry into a blood vessel, mucous linings, such as the vagina, rectum, penis, mouth, eyes, or nose, or a break in the skin, HIV is not spread through saliva (spit).

HIV is spread through: Vaginal, anal, or oral sex without using a condom; Sharing needles, syringes, or works to inject drugs, vitamins, hormones, steroids, or medicines; Women with HIV infection can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding; People who are exposed to blood and/or body fluids at work, like health care workers, may be exposed to HIV through needle-sticks or other on-the-job exposures; It may also be possible to pass HIV through sharing needles for piercing or tattooing.

A person infected with HIV can pass the virus to others during these activities. This is true even if the person: has no symptoms of HIV, has not been diagnosed with AIDS, is taking HIV medications, has an "undetectable" viral load, HIV is not spread by casual contact like sneezing, coughing, eating or drinking from common utensils, shaking hands, hugging, or use of restrooms and drinking fountains.

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a late stage of HIV disease. There are medications that have helped people living with HIV or AIDS live longer, healthier lives. Some people have lived for more than 20 years and have taken medicines for more than 10 years. But, there is no cure.

Similar Post You May Like

  • Social Perspectives HIV and AIDS

    Social Perspectives

    Viruses too are social phenomena. That may sound like a joke or a paradox, but it simply reflects the fact that relating to illness is a constitutive...

  • Testing AIDS Drugs and Vaccines

    Testing AIDS Drugs

    AIDS research in the developing world has raised ethical questions pertaining to the clinical testing of new therapies and potential vaccines.

  • Social Stigma and Discrimination

    Social Stigma and Discrimination

    From the early days of the identification of AIDS, the disease has been powerfully linked to behaviors that are illegal or are considered immoral by...

Popular links:

  • Aids in Africa

    Aids in Africa

    Sub-Saharan Africa is more heavily affected by HIV and AIDS than any other region of the world. An estimated 22 million people were living with HIV...

  • CAUSE of AIDS

    CAUSE of AIDS

    AIDS is the final stage of a chronic infection with the human immunodeficiency virus. There are two types of this virus...

  • History of HIV and AIDS

    History of HIV and AIDS

    In the short time since the first cases of the AIDS epidemic were reported in 1981, scientists have identified the viral cause of the illness.

Other links AIDS: