FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HIV & AIDS
- What are HIV and AIDS?
HIV—Human Immunodeficiency Virus— a virus that weakens the body’s immune system gradually, ultimately causing AIDS.
AIDS—Acquired Immune-deficiency Syndrome— is the most advanced stage of HIV infection, which can take from 2 to 15 years to develop depending on the individual. AIDS is defined by the development of certain cancers, infections, or other severe clinical manifestations.
- How is HIV transmitted?
HIV can be transmitted through direct contact with a HIV positive person’s body fluids, such as blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretions. Individuals cannot become infected through ordinary day-to-day contact such as kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing personal objects, food or water. Also, a person cannot get HIV by sharing a school bus or classroom or working at the same workplace of with people that are HIV positive
- Is there a treatment for HIV and AIDS?
There is no cure for HIV infection but there is treatment available, called the antiretroviral treatment (ART). With effective ART, people living with HIV can enjoy healthy and productive lives.
- What are the signs and symptoms of HIV infection?
HIV infection goes unnoticed for years as generally there are no exclusive symptoms. The first few weeks after initial infection, individuals may experience no symptoms or an influenza-like illness including fever, headache, rash or sore throat.
- How do I know if I have an HIV infection?
The only way to know if you have HIV is to take a blood test. Though people living with HIV tend to be most infectious in the first few months, many are unaware of their status until later stages. Remember, you don’t need to be sick to take an HIV test! It is better to test early.
For more information, please visit: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs360/en/