AIDS/HIV/HCV Info

AIDS/HIV/HCV Information and Resources

This site contains HIV prevention messages that may not be appropriate for all audiences. If you are not seeking such information or are offended by such materials, please exit this website. 

Terms:

HIV.  Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the virus that weakens the immune system and can cause AIDS.

HIV Antibody Test.  A blood test that shows if a person has antibodies to fight HIV, thus implying HIV infection.

HIV Disease.  The disease caused by HIV that attacks and destroys a person's immune system until it is not able to fight off infection.

HIV+.  HIV Positive is the term applied to someone who is infected with HIV.

HIV Transmission. When the HIV-infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids, pre-ejaculate fluid or breast milk from one person enters another's bloodstream.

Immune System. The body's defense system against infection and disease.

Antibodies.  Proteins produced by the immune system to fight infections.

Opportunistic Infections. Diseases that take advantage of an immune system weakened by HIV.

AIDS.  Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is the life-threatening stage of HIV disease.

HEP C.  Hepatitis C is a liver disease, caused by a blood-borne infectious virus that causes the liver to swell and stop working correctly.

HCV. Hepatitis C Virus.

How is HIV Transmitted?

HIV is transmitted from one person to another by infected:

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Vaginal fluids
  • Breast milk
  • Pre-ejaculate fluid (pre cum)

You CAN get HIV from a person who is infected through:

  • Sex.  Having unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex (without a condom)
  • Needles. Unclean needles and syringes or sharing needles and syringes to inject drugs, steroids or vitamins or using unclean needles for body piercing or tattoos
  • Mother to Child. Through pregnancy, birth or breast feeding
  • Contaminated Blood Products.  Before 1985, donated blood was not tested. Today all donated blood and blood products are tested for HIV.

You can NOT get HIV by:

  • Hugging
  • Kissing
  • Sharing food or drink
  • Touching or being around someone who is sneezing or coughing

HIV is NOT transmitted through casual contact!

  • There is no need for concern about day-to-day contact in the workplace, at school, from cooks, waiters or from family and friends who have HIV.
  • There is no evidence that HIV can be transmitted by saliva, tears or sweat. Urine and feces do not transmit HIV if there is no blood in them.
  • Health workers, such as doctors, dentists, nurses and others who provide medical care, wear latex gloves and masks to protect themselves and their patients from HIV and other infections. They also clean and sterilize instruments or use disposable ones for your protection.

It's important to remember, if infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids, pre-ejaculate fluid or breast milk does not get into your bloodstream, there is no risk of HIV infection.

Now that you have the facts about HIV/AIDS, talk to others and share what you've learned. HIV disease can be prevented. It is up to each of us to stop the spread of this disease.

If you know someone who has HIV disease or AIDS, the most important thing you can do is to be supportive and compassionate. There are many treatments and services that can help people live long and productive lives.