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What is HIV?
What are symptoms of HIV?
What causes AIDS?
What are symptoms of AIDS?
Where did AIDS come

How many people die from AIDS each year?
How do I get tested for HIV/AIDS?
How is AIDS transmitted?

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A MAAS HIV/AIDS Educational Primer

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is what causes AIDS in a person. HIV can be spread through sexual intercourse, from male to male, male to female, female to male, and from female to female. HIV is sexually transmitted, and HIV is not the only infection that is passed through intimate sexual contact. Other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and chlamydia, can also be contracted through anal, vaginal, and oral intercourse.

If you have one of these STDs and engage in sexual behaviors that can transmit HIV, you are at greater risk of getting infected with HIV.

HIV may be in an infected person's blood, semen, or vaginal secretions. HIV can enter the body through cuts or sores in the skin. HIV can also enter the body through the moist lining of the vagina, penis, rectum, or even the mouth, in which case cuts and sores in these areas greatly increase the risk of infection. Some of these cuts or sores are so small you may not even know they're there. Anal intercourse with an infected person is one of the way s HIV has been most frequently transmitted. Other forms of sexual intercourse, including oral sex, can spread it as well. During oral sex, a person who takes semen, blood, or vaginal secretions into their mouth is at risk of becoming infected.

Many infected people have no symptoms and have not been tested. If you have unprotected sex with one of them, you put yourself in danger. Also, the more sex partners you have, the greater your chances of encountering one or more who are infected and of becoming infected yourself. The only sure way to avoid infection through sex is to abstain from sexual intercourse or engage in sexual intercourse only with someone who is not infected and only has sex with you. Latex condoms have been shown to prevent HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. But you have to use condoms correctly every time you have sex-vaginal, anal, or oral. Condoms made of plastics such as polyurethane should also be highly effective. Condoms made of lambskin, however, do not offer good protection.

You Can Get HIV From Sharing Needles
Sharing needles or syringes with an infected person, even once, is very risky. Many people have become infected with HIV and other germs this way. HIV from an infected person can remain in a needle or syringe and then be injected directly into the body of the next person who uses it. Sharing needles to inject drugs is the most dangerous form of needle sharing.

Sharing needles for other purposes may also transmit HIV and other germs. These types of needles include those used to inject steroids or vitamins and those used for tattooing or ear-piercing.

If you plan to have your ears pierced or get a tattoo, make sure you got a qualified person who uses brand-new or sterile equipment. Don't be shy about asking questions. Responsible technicians will explain the safety measures they follow.

HIV And Babies
A woman infected with HIV can pass the virus on to her baby during pregnancy, while giving birth, or when breast-feeding. If a woman is infected before or during pregnancy, without medical treatment her child has about one chance in four of being born with HIV infection. Medical treatment with AZT during pregnancy and labor may reduce the risk of infecting the baby to about 1 in 12. There must be no breastfeeding by the infected mother and the baby must be given AZT for the first several weeks of life. Even then, the risk of infecting the child cannot be totally eliminated.

Any woman who is considering having a baby and who thinks she might have done something that could have caused her to become infected with HIV-even if this occurred years ago-should seek counseling and testing for HIV infection to help her make an informed choice about becoming pregnant. To find out where to go in your area for counseling and testing, call your local health department or the CDC National AIDS Hotline (1-800-342-AIDS).

Blood Transfusions And HIV
In the past some people became infected with HIV from receiving blood transfusions. This risk has been practically eliminated. Since a 1983 Public Health Service recommendation, potential blood donors at risk of HIV infection have been asked not to donate blood. Since 1985 al donated blood has been tested for evidence of HIV. All blood found to contain evidence of HIV infection is discarded. Currently in the United States, there is only a very small chance of infection with HIV through a blood transfusion. You cannot get HIV from giving blood at a blood bank or other blood collection center. The needles used for blood donations are sterile. They are used once, then destroyed.

How You Cannot Get HIV
HIV infection doesn't "just happen." You cant' "catch" it like a cold or flu. Unlike cold or flu viruses, HIV is not spread by coughs or sneezes. Again, you get HIV by coming in contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from another person.
· You won't get HIV through everyday contact with infected people at school, work, home, or anywhere else.
· You won't get HIV from clothes, drinking fountains, phones, or toilet seats. It isn't passed on by things like forks, cups, ore other objects that someone who is infected with the virus has used.
· You won't get HIV from eating food prepared by an infected person.
· You won't get HIV from a mosquito bite. HIV does not live in a mosquito, and it is not transmitted through a mosquito's bite like other germs, such as the ones that cause malaria. You won't get it from bedbugs, lice, flies, or other insects, either.
· You won't get HIV from contact with sweat, saliva, or tears.
· You won't get HIV from a simple kiss. Most scientist agree that although transmission of HIV through deep or prolonged kissing may be possible because of potential blood contact, it would be unlikely.

Who Is Really At Risk For HIV Infection?
There is evidence that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been in the United States at least since 1978. The following are known risk factors for HIV. You may be at increased risk of infection if any of the following have applied to you since 1978.
· Have you shared needles or syringes to inject drugs or steroids?
· If you are a male, have you had unprotected sex with other males?
· Have you had unprotected sex with someone who believe may have been infected with HIV?
· Have you had a sexually transmitted disease (STD)?
· Have you received blood transfusions or blood clotting factor between 1978 and 1985?
· Have you had unprotected sex with someone who would answer yes to any of the above questions?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should discuss your need for testing with a trained counselor. If you are a woman in any of the above categories and you plan to become pregnant, counseling and testing are even more important. If you have had unprotected sex with someone and you didn't know their risk behavior, or you have had many sex partners in the last ten years, then you have increased the chances that you might be HIV-infected.

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• More than 1.1 million Americans have HIV, and almost 1 in 6 (15.8%) of those are unaware they are infected. Overall, an estimated 1,155,792 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with AIDS.

• An estimated 56,300 Americans are infected each year, which averages to one new infection every 9 minutes.

• In 2011, an estimated 49,273 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with HIV infection. In that same year, an estimated 32,052 people were diagnosed with AIDS.

• More than 14,000 people with AIDS die every year. In 2010, an estimated 15,529 people with an AIDS diagnosis died.

• Among racial groups, African Americans face the most severe burden: they account for 46% of all people with HIV.

Source: CDC, November 2013:
click here for source file


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