What is HIV & AIDS?

The “Facts of Life” Have Changed!

What is HIV?
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS

How does HIV spread?
The most common way that HIV is transmitted is from one person to another through having sexual relations with an HIV-infected person that are either vaginal, anal or oral. Other ways of contracting the disease are from sharing needless with HIV-infected carriers, or from HIV-infected women to their babies before or during birth or through breast-feeding after birth. HIV can still be transmitted by receiving infected blood, although this is now extremely rare. The largest contributor to HIV/AIDS today comes from people (mostly men) having sexual relations outside of marriage with people other than their spouse.

The Myth about AIDS
Most people still believe that you could get HIV/AIDS through Casual contact like shaking hands or hugging, Touching inanimate objects, Animals, Giving blood donations, Insect bites, Saliva, Sweat, Vaccines, Water and Tears. There is no evidence to show that you can contact HIV/AIDS through any of these means. However, HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, through tainted blood (although rare), and from mother to infant. Hospitals should make sure that donors are not infected with HIV before accepting blood from them. And people should not share needles or syringes, for if the other person is infected with HIV; the next user could get the HIV virus.

What are the symptoms of HIV?
The only way to know if you are infected with the HIV virus is to be tested. You cannot rely on symptoms, because they are similar to those of many other diseases. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all for years. And thus, may unknowingly spread the disease to others. The following may be warning signs of infection with HIV: rapid weigh loss, dry cough, recurring fever or profuse night sweats, profound and unexplained fatigue, swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin or neck, diarrhea that last for more than a week, white spots or unusual blemishes on the tongue, in the mouth or in the throat, pneumonia, red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids, memory loss, depression or other neurological disorders. If you have any of these symptoms you should be tested to know if you are an HIV-carrier, because you could be spreading the deadly HIV/AIDS disease to others and not know it.

Get Tested.
If you are sexually active now or have ever been sexually active in the past please contact one of the 1-800 HIV and AIDS facilities listed in this web site and ask for an HIV/AIDS testing facility near you. If they are unable top help you then please contact your local health department, school nurse or hospital. And if you are living outside the United States please contact your local health department or hospital.

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