Some Basics you need to know about HIV
H – Human I – Immunodeficiency V – Virus
Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a lot like other viruses, including those that cause the flu or the common cold. But there is an important difference – over time, your immune system canclear most viruses out of your body. That isn't the case with HIV – the human immune system can't seem to get rid of it. Scientists are still trying to figure out why.
We know that HIV can hide for long periods of time in the cells of your body and that it attacks a key part of your immune system – your t-cells or CD4 cells. Your body has to have these cells to fight infections and disease, but HIV invades them, uses them to make more copies of itself, and then destroys them.
Over time, HIV can destroy so many of your CD4 cells that your body can't fight infections and diseases anymore. When that happens, HIV infection can lead to AIDS.
Some AIDS "need to know"
A – Acquired I – Immuno D – Deficiency S – Syndrome
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is the final stage of HIV infection. People at this stage of HIV disease have badly damaged immune systems, which put them at risk for opportunistic infections (OIs).
You will be diagnosed with AIDS if you have very low number of CD4 cells. If you have AIDS, you will need to prevent death.
How is HIV AIDS transmitted
HIV lives and reproduces in blood and other bodly fluids. We know that the following fluids can contain high levels of HIV:
- Semen (cum)
- Pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum)
- Vaginal fluids
- Rectal (anal) mucous
Other body fluids and waste
HIV is transmitted through body fluids in very specific ways:
- During sexual coontact: When you have anal, oral, or vaginal sex with a partner, you will usually have contact with your partner’s body fluids. If your partner has HIV, those body fluids can deliver the virus into your bloodstream through microscopic breaks or rips in the delicate linings of your vagina, vulva, penis, rectum, or mouth. Rips in these areas are very common and mostly unnoticeable. HIV can also enter through open sores, like those caused by herpes or syphilis, if infected body fluids get in them.
You need to know that it’s much easier to get HIV (or to give it to someone else), if you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
- During pregancy, childbirth or breast milk: Babies have constant contact with their mother’s body fluids-including amniotic fluid and blood-throughout pregnancy and childbirth. After birth, infants can get HIV from drinking infected breast milk.
- As a result of injection drug use: Injecting drugs puts you in contact with blood-your own and others, if you share needles and “works”. Needles or drugs that are contaminated with HIV-infected blood can deliver the virus directly into your body.
- As a result of occupational exposure: Healthcare workers have the greatest risk for this type of HIV transmission. If you work in a healthcare setting, you can come into contact with infected blood or other fluids through needle sticks or cuts. A few healthcare workers have been infected when body fluids splashed into their eyes, mouth, or into an open sore or cut.
- As a result of a blood transfusion with infected blood or an organ transplant from an infected donor: Screening requirements make both of these forms of HIV transmission very rare in the United States.
In 2010, the estimated number of new HIV infections among homosexual men was 29,800, a significant 12% increase from the 26,700 new infections among MSM in 2008.
Although MSM represent about 4% of the male population in the United States, in 2010, homosexual men accounted for 78% of new HIV infections among males and 63% of all new infections. Homosexual men accounted for 52% of all people living with HIV infection in 2009, the most recent year these data are available.
In 2010, white homosexual men continued to account for the largest number of new HIV infections (11,200), by transmission category, followed closely by black homosexual men (10,600). The estimated number of new HIV infections was greatest among homosexual men in the youngest age group. In 2010, the greatest number of new HIV infections (4,800) among homosexual men occurred in young black/African American homosexual men aged 13–24. Young black homosexual men accounted for 45% of new HIV infections among black homosexual men and 55% of new HIV infections among young homosexual men overall.
Since the epidemic began, an estimated 302,148 homosexual men with an AIDS diagnosis have died, including an estimated 5,909 in 2010.