Jessie Vega

What is HIV ?

Human Immunodefiency Virus or also known as HIV is a lot like other Viruses including those that cause the flu or the common cold. But the difference is that over time your immune system can clear most viruses out of your body. But with HIV it isn't the same, the immune system can't seem to get rid of it. Its means that once you have HIV , you have it for life. HIV can hide for long periods of time in the cell of your body and it attacks a key part of your immune system(Your t-cells or CD4 cells). Your body has to have these cells in order to fight infections and diseases, but HIV invades them, uses them to make more copy of itself, and then destroys them.Over a period of time HIV can destroy lots of CD4 cells that your body won't be able to fight off infections and diseases. When that happens, HIV can lead to the final stage of the HIV infection, Aids . But not everyone with HIV progresses to Aids. With treatment called Antiretroviral therapy or "Art", you can keep the level of HIV virus in your body low.

How do you get HIV or Aids?

HIV or Aids can be transmitted through:

  • Sexual Contact
  • Injection Drug Use
  • Pregnancy, ChildBirth & Breast Feeding
  • Occupational Exposure
  • (Rarely)Blood Transfusion/Organ Transplant

Also through body fluids such as :

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Rectal fluids
  • Breast milk

These body fluids must come into contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into your bloodstream (by a needle or syringe) for transmission to possibly occur.

How is HIV spread?

About 50,000 new HIV infections occur in the United States each year.In the U.S, HIV is spread mainly by:

  • Having sex with someone who has HIV.
  • Sharing needles ,syringes, rinse water, or other equipment("work") used to prepare injection drugs with someone who has HIV.

HIV is NOT spread by:

  • Air or Water
  • Insects, including mosquitoes
  • Saliva, tears or sweat
  • Casual Contact
  • Drinking Fountains
  • Toilet seat

HIV doesn't live long outside the human body.

Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms are depending on the individual and what stage of the disease you are in.

There are three stages: The Early Stage Of HIV , The Clinical Latency Stage, and The Progression To Aids.

The Early Stage Symtoms can include:

  • Fever(this is the common symptom)
  • Swollen Glands
  • Sore Throat
  • Rash
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint aches and pains
  • Headache