POZ Focus : HIV, The Basics

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Back to home » HIV 101 » POZ Focus

Table of Contents

 
Big Top

Financial Planning

Disability Decisions

Paying Off to Move Ahead

Affordable Care

Pharma to the Fore

Adherence

Disclosure

HIV, The Basics

Immune System

Resistance

 
What You're Talking About
Let's Kick ASS - AIDS Survivor Syndrome (32 comments)

It's Time for a TV Dramedy Series About Life With HIV (27 comments)

AHF Campaigns Against PrEP as a 'Public Health Intervention' (25 comments)

True Story - An essay by a gay journalist and author who is tired of living in fear of HIV (17 comments)

Depression, God and Staying Alive... (blog) (17 comments)

Health Care is a Human Right (8 comments)
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


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HIV, The Basics


WHAT IT MEANS

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that causes the disease called AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. You can see that both medical terms share the word immunodeficiency, a mouthful of a word that means deficiency of the immune system. This explains exactly why having an HIV infection threatens your health—it can weaken your body’s own natural defense against sickness.

WHY IT MATTERS
The longer HIV attacks your immune system, the more you risk developing serious infections and cancers. To prevent this from happening, it is important to get tested for HIV—and, if necessary, start treatment with HIV medication—as soon as possible. If you do come down with something serious or if blood tests show that your immune system is low on power, your diagnosis officially changes from “HIV positive” to “AIDS.”

HIV? Or AIDS?
HIV and AIDS are not the same thing, though many people wrongly use the terms as if they were. Over the past decade, as better drugs have increasingly made this disease manageable for many years, the conventional wisdom that HIV infection always leads to sickness and an AIDS diagnosis has had to be revised.
 
NOTE TO ROOKIES
Never forget these two facts: First, you can live a long, healthy life with HIV. Second, learning as much as you can about HIV and getting to know other people who have it are the best defense against sickness.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE

40 million

The estimated number of people in the world who have HIV.

HEADS UP
HIV is most commonly transmitted in the following three ways:

1. Unprotected sex via anal, vaginal or oral penetration without a condom.

2. Sharing “works” (needles and syringes, cookers, cottons and water) when injecting drugs or other substances.

3. From a mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding. With proper medical care, however, the risk of giving your baby HIV can be almost completely eliminated.



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