What are HIV & AIDS?
• HIV weakens your immune system, your body’s built-in defense against disease and illness.
• Without HIV treatment, your immune system can become too weak to fight off serious illnesses. HIV can also damage other parts of your body. Eventually, you can become sick with life-threatening infections. This is the most serious stage of HIV infection, called AIDS.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
There is no cure for HIV… But there is treatment.
Who can get HIV?
Anyone can be infected with HIV, no matter…
• your age
• your sex
• your race or ethnic origin
• who you have sex with
How does HIV get passed from one person to another?
• Only five body fluids can contain enough HIV to infect someone: blood, semen (including pre-cum), rectal fluid, vaginal fluid and breast milk.
• HIV can only get passed when one of these fluids from a person with HIV gets into the bloodstream of another person—through broken skin, the opening of the penis or the wet linings of the body, such as the vagina, rectum or foreskin.
• HIV cannot pass through healthy, unbroken skin.
The two main ways that HIV can get passed between you and someone else are:
• Through unprotected sex (anal or vaginal sex without a condom)
• By sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs (including steroids)
HIV can also be passed:
• By sharing needles or ink to get a tattoo
• By sharing needles or jewelry to get a body piercing
• By sharing acupuncture needles
• To a fetus or baby during pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding
HIV cannot be passed by:
• talking, shaking hands, working or eating with someone who has HIV
• hugs or kisses
• coughs or sneezes
• swimming pools
• toilet seats or water fountains
• bed sheets or towels
• forks, spoons, cups or food
• insects or animals
HIV & Drug Use
• Sharing needles and other drug equipment
• Another virus called hepatitis C can also be spread when sharing drug equipment. Hepatitis C damages the liver.
• Protect yourself and the people you do drugs with.
• If you use drugs, there are things you can do to protect yourself and use drugs in a safer way. This is called harm reduction.
You are better off knowing if you have HIV.
If you know you have HIV, you can get the treatment and care you need to stay healthy and avoid passing it on to others.
If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, it is important to get tested.
The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. T.
• After HIV enters the body, it may take time before the test can detect the virus (this is known as the window period). Different HIV tests have different window periods.
• Speak to a health-care provider about getting tested for HIV as well as other STIs and hepatitis C.
You can’t tell whether you have been infected with HIV by how you feel.
Some people have flu-like symptoms when they first get infected (fever, sore throat or swollen glands). But some people have no symptoms at all.
• You can have HIV and not know it.