What is HIV?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is an virus that weakens the body’s immune system and can eventually lead to AIDS, which is life threatening if left untreated.
What is the link between STDs and HIV infection?
Individuals who are infected with STDs are at least two to five times more likely than uninfected individuals to acquire HIV infection if they are exposed to the virus through sexual contact.
What are the symptoms?
Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms and feel healthy. Symptoms don’t usually develop until a person’s immune system has been weakened. The symptoms people experience are usually related to infections and cancers they get due to a weakened immune system.
How do you get it?
Through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Also by sharing contaminated needles; and from mother-to-child during pregnancy or breast-feeding. The chance of getting it through kissing is very low.
How do you treat it?
There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. Antiretroviral treatment can slow the progression of HIV disease & delay the onset of AIDS. Early diagnosis & treatment can improve a person’s chances of living a longer, healthier life.
What are the consequences if left untreated?
Increased risk for other life-threatening infections and certain cancers. By weakening the body’s ability to fight disease, HIV makes an infected person more vulnerable to infections that they wouldn’t otherwise get. HIV can also cause infections that anyone can get, such as other STDs and pneumonia, to be much worse. Left untreated, HIV infection develops into AIDS and is a fatal disease.
How can HIV be prevented?
Using latex condoms correctly every time you have sex will help reduce the risk of getting HIV. Also, using clean needles and practicing absence from drug and alcohol can reduce the risk of contracting HIV.