AIDS stands for Acquired Immune deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is caused by the HIV (Human Immune deficiency Virus) which attacks the body's immune system.

There is a grading system for all HIV infected persons which covers the spectrum from acute infections to full-blown AIDS a fatal condition.

  • Sometimes soon after infection a brief "mono" like illness occurs with fatigue, swollen glands, fever, which resolved. General persistent symptoms include complications of lymph node enlargement, night sweats, diarrhea, weight loss, or fatigue.
  • AIDS is life threatening infections, cancers and other problems affecting every body system when the immune system becomes so damaged that it can no longer protect these systems.
  • It takes an average of 10 years for AIDS to develop after being infected.
  • It is possible to be sexually active with someone who's infected for awhile before becoming infected.
  • Diagnosis is by a simple blood test. It's called the HIV antibody test and can be obtained by an order form your doctor. Your body reacts to the presence of the virus by producing antibodies. A test that discovers these antibodies indicates that you are infected.
  • Most people make antibodies within 3-6 months of being infected. If ongoing unprotected intercourse with a partner whose HIV status isn't known, consideration may be given to repeated testing since, as previously mentioned, it is possible to have repeated contact with someone who is infected for awhile before transmission occurs.
  • Abstain from risky activity such as oral, anal, vaginal intercourse, use of sex toys and any activity that draws blood or causes broken skin.
  • If sexually active, commit to only one partner with whom you have discussed AIDS, who is prepared to have safer sex and does not have sex or share needles with anyone else.
  • Avoid sex with anyone who has had numerous partners or has used injectable drugs. If having sex with someone whose HIV status is not known, use latex condoms, gloves, dental dams with water based lubricant. Don't use injectable drugs.
  • There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. The virus remains in the body for life. Several drugs are used to arrest the progress of the HIV infection. There are other drugs to treat the infections and cancers which could develop. A variety of agencies provide support, assistance and counselling in dealing with AIDS.
  • HIV is spread from an infected person and transmitted through contact of mucous membranes. Mucous membranes are the kind of skin found in the mouth, anal and genital area. HIV is spread by an exchange of semen, vaginal fluids or blood or broken skin with blood of an infected person. Through unprotected oral , anal, or vaginal intercourse, using or getting struck with a needle that has infected blood on it, to a baby during birth.
  • HIV is not passed by everyday social contact. Touching, hugging and shaking hands with an infected person is safe. Pets and biting insects, such as mosquitoes, do not spread HIV!


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