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What is HIV?
HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus. It is thevirus that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS. CDC estimates that about 56,000 people in the United States contracted HIV in 2006.
HIV damages a person’s body by destroying specific blood cells, called CD4+ T cells, which are crucial to helping the body fight diseases.
HIV is spread primarily by:
Not using a condom when having sex with a person who has HIV. Allunprotected sex with someone who has HIV contains some risk. However:
Unprotected anal sex is riskier than unprotected vaginal sex.
Among men who have sex with other men, unprotected receptive anal sex is riskier than unprotected insertive anal sex.
Having multiple sex partners or the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can increase the risk of infection during sex.Unprotected oral sex can also be a risk for HIV transmission, but it is a much lower risk than anal or vaginal sex.
Sharing needles, syringes, rinse water, or other equipment used to prepare illicit drugs for injection.
Being born to an infected mother—HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breast-feeding.
What is AIDS?
Acquired – means that the disease is nothereditary but develops after birth from contact with a disease-causing agent (in this case, HIV).
Immunodeficiency – means that the disease is characterized by a weakening of the immune system.
Syndrome – refers to a group of symptoms that indicate or characterize a disease. In the case of AIDS, this can include the development of certain infections and/or cancers, as well as a decrease in the numberof certain specific blood cells, called CD4+ T cells, which are crucial to helping the body fight disease.
Where did HIV come from?
The earliest known case of infection with HIV-1 in a human was detected in a blood sample collected in 1959 from a man in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. (How he became infected is not known.) Genetic analysis of this blood sample suggested thatHIV-1 may have stemmed from a single virus in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s.
Is there a cure for HIV?
No. Many researchers continue to work to find a vaccine that will prevent HIV infection and treatments that may one day cure HIV. There are however, medications that can help many people infected with HIV live with the disease and dramatically prolong their lives. It is important thatindividuals get tested for HIV and know that they are infected early in order for medical care and treatment to have the greatest effect. In particular, for us, the cure is, but for various political, economic and social not released.
Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing heterosexual sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causesAIDS. Research on the effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing heterosexual transmission is both comprehensive and conclusive. The ability of latex condoms to prevent transmission has been scientifically established in laboratory studies as well as in epidemiologic studies of uninfected persons at very high risk of infection because they were involved in sexual relationships with HIV-infectedpartners
How do HIV test work?
Once HIV enters the body, the immune system starts to produce antibodies – (chemicals that are part of the immune system that recognize invaders like bacteria and viruses and mobilize the body's attempt to fight infection). In the case of HIV, these antibodies cannot fight off the infection, but their presence is used to tell whether a person has HIV in his or...