AIDS and HIV Information
 

What is AIDS

AIDS is the most serious stage of HIV infection. It results from the destruction of the infected person's immune system

Your immune system is your body's defense system. Cells of your immune system fight off infection and other diseases. If your immune system doesn't work well, you are at risk for serious and life-threatening infections and cancers. HIV attacks and destroys the diesease-fighting cells of the immune system, leaving the body with a weakened defense against infections and cancer.

How HIV is Transmitted

 
 

HIV is spread by sexual contact with an infected person, by sharing needles and/or syringes (primarily for drug injection) with someone who is infected, or, less commonly (and now very rarely in countries where blood is screened for HIV antibodies), through transfusions of infected blood or blood clotting factors. Babies born to HIV-infected women may become infected before or during birth or through breast-feeding after birth.

In the health care setting, workers have been infected with HIV after being stuck with needles containing HIV-infected blood or, less frequently, after infected blood gets into a worker’s open cut or a mucous membrane (for example, the eyes or inside of the nose). There has been only one instance of patients being infected by a health care worker in the United States; this involved HIV transmission from one infected dentist to six patients. Investigations have been completed involving more than 22,000 patients of 63 HIV-infected physicians, surgeons, and dentists, and no other cases of this type of transmission have been identified in the United States.

Some people fear that HIV might be transmitted in other ways; however, no scientific evidence to support any of these fears has been found. If HIV were being transmitted through other routes (such as through air, water, or insects), the pattern of reported AIDS cases would be much different from what has been observed. For example, if mosquitoes could transmit HIV infection, many more young children and preadolescents would have been diagnosed with AIDS.

Did You Know?

The signs of symptoms of AIDS or HIV are different depending on what stage the infection is in. When a person is first infected they may have flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes but recover quickly.

This flu-like sickness may occur two to six weeks after being infected and is not always associated with the possibility of HIV infection. Even if you do not have any of these symptoms until years later, you can still infect other people with the virus.

Once your body is invaded with the HIV or AIDS virus, your immune system is under attack. Even though you may not be having any symptoms, you can still pass the disease on to another person.

Meanwhile, even if you are symptom free, your cells that coordinate your immune system are slowly being destroyed.

You can remain this way for as many as ten years but during that time you will begin it experience more frequent infections as your immune cells are destroyed.

You may experience chronic symptoms such as diarrhea, weight loss, shortness of breath, cough, fever, and unexplained weight loss.


HIV/AIDS DIAGNOSES

At the end of 2003, an estimated 1,039,000 to 1,185,000 persons in the United States were living with HIV/AIDS [1].* In 2005, 38,096 cases of HIV/AIDS in adults, adolescents, and children were diagnosed in the 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting [2]. CDC has estimated that approximately 40,000 persons in the United States become infected with HIV each year [3].

How is HIV passed from one person to another?

HIV transmission can occur when blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), vaginal fluid, or breast milk from an infected person enters the body of an uninfected person.

HIV can enter the body through a vein (e.g., injection drug use), the lining of the anus or rectum, the lining of the vagina and/or cervix, the opening to the penis, the mouth, other mucous membranes (e.g., eyes or inside of the nose), or cuts and sores. Intact, healthy skin is an excellent barrier against HIV and other viruses and bacteria.

These are the most common ways that HIV is transmitted from one person to another:

  • by having sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with an HIV-infected person;
  • by sharing needles or injection equipment with an injection drug user who is infected with HIV; or
  • from HIV-infected women to their babies before or during birth, or through breast-feeding after birth.

HIV also can be transmitted through receipt of infected blood or blood clotting factors. However, since 1985, all donated blood in the United States has been tested for HIV. Therefore, the risk of infection through transfusion of blood or blood products is extremely low. The U.S. blood supply is considered to be among the safest in the world.

 

Better Your Health

HIV and AIDS Information and Resources
World Health Organization’s AIDS Staging
History of AIDS Looking Closer at the HIV Virus and AIDS
Living With HIV and AIDS
Know the Basics about AIDS
What are the Causes of AIDS
Homeopathic Ways of Treating the AIDS Patient
AIDS and the Nervous System
Options If You Are HIV Positive
The AIDS Patient and Opportunistic Infections
Advanced Signs of the HIV Virus
Tests For the HIV Virus
Other Health Concerns For The AIDS Patient
Prayer And Spirituality Used In The Treatment Of AIDS
How To Prepare For Your AIDS Medical Appointment
Aids and Viral Complications
Parasitic Infections Common to HIV Patients
AIDS Related Lymphoma
Treating AIDS Related Lymphoma
Serious Complications Associated With The HIV Virus
White Blood Cells And AIDS
Neurological Complications Associated with AIDS
What To Do If You Think You Might Have Aids
New Developments In AIDS Research
Coping With Your AIDS Diagnosis
The Symptoms of HIV Infection
Education Is The Key To Stopping the AIDS Epidemic
The Emphasis Must Be On Prevention for HIV and AIDS
AIDS Medical Terms
Take An Active Role In Your AIDS Medical Treatment
Reducing The HIV Risk Factors
Keeping A Positive Outlook For AIDS Patients
Acupuncture To Relieve The Side Effects Of AIDS Treatment
A Healthy Lifestyle Can Help You Treat AIDS
AIDS Patients Are In It For Life
Basic AIDS Information
Do You Need To Let Everyone Know That You Are HIV Positive
Important Vitamins and Minerals for a Person with HIV
Treatments Available for the Patient with HIV or AIDS
Ways You Cannot Get The HIV Virus
Treatments Available for the HIV Positive Woman
Understanding the Basics of HIV
The United States AIDS Policy
Treatment Guidelines for the AIDS Patient
Treating Serious Illnesses in The AIDS Patient
HIV Transmission
How The HIV Virus Progresses
The Fear the AIDS Stigma Brings
I Tested Positive For the HIV Virus: What Now
How To Tell Other People You Are HIV Positive
Facts And Myths Regarding HIV Transmission
Some Recent Advances In The Fight Against AIDS
Preventive Measures You Can Take Concerning HIV Infection
Dates In AIDS History
The Impact of AIDS On MSM, Men Who Have Sex With Men
Dealing With Malnutrition For The HIV Infected Person
Know Your Personal HIV Risk Factors
Keeping Yourself AIDS Free
Are Condoms Effective As Protection Against AIDS Transmission
Juicings Possible Benefits To The Person With HIV
What Are The Initial Signs and Symptoms of HIV Infections
AIDS Faqs
Five Classes of Antiretroviral Drugs for Treating AIDS
Dietary Needs And The HIV Patient
Misconceptions About AIDS
Oh No I have AIDS
The Staggering AIDS Statistics
Exercise May Boost Your Imune System
Aids And The Toll On Families
Immunization Needs For Adult AIDS Patients
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome: The Basic Facts
Is There A Silver Lining in The Cloud of AIDS
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