Writing about web page http://www.plannedparenthood.org/sti/aidsquestions.html
came across this in my quest for interesting info onAIDS and HIV.its simple and to the point, have a look.
What is AIDS?
AIDS is short for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is the most advanced stage of HIV disease. HIV disease is caused by HIV — the human immunodeficiency virus.
How many people have AIDS?
In the U.S., more than 885,000 cases of AIDS have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)(CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, Dec.1999). More than 40,000 women and men get HIV each year in the U.S.
How could I get HIV?
HIV is transmitted in blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. HIV is commonly spread by
having unprotected sexual intercourse with someone who has the virus
sharing needles or syringes with someone who has the virus
being deeply punctured with a needle or surgical instrument contaminated with the virus
getting HIV-infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions into open wounds or sores
HIV can also be passed from a woman to her fetus during pregnancy or birth.
HIV is not transmitted by simple casual contact such as kissing, sharing water glasses, or hugging.
Can I get HIV from a blood transfusion?
The risk of transmitting HIV by a screened blood transfusion in the U.S. is practically nonexistent.
Can I get HIV by donating blood?
No. Needles and syringes for collecting blood are only used once.
How does HIV work?
HIV breaks down the immune system — our body's shield against disease. HIV causes people to become sick with infections that normally wouldn’t affect them.
How can I tell if someone has HIV?
You can't. The CDC estimates that as many as one in three people with HIV don't know they are infected. Testing is the only way to tell.
What are there symptoms?
Some people develop symptoms shortly after being infected. On average, it takes more than 10 years.
There are several stages of HIV disease. The first symptom of HIV disease is often swollen lymph glands in the throat, armpit, or groin. Other early symptoms include slight fever, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, and swollen glands. They may only last for a few weeks. Then there are usually no symptoms for many years.
What are the later symptoms of HIV disease?
a thick, whitish coating of the tongue or mouth (thrush) that is caused by a yeast infection and sometimes accompanied by a sore throat
severe or recurring vaginal yeast infections
chronic pelvic inflammatory disease or severe and frequent infections like herpes zoster
periods of extreme and unexplained fatigue that may be combined with headaches, lightheadedness, and/or dizziness
rapid loss of more than 10 pounds of weight that is not due to increased physical exercise or dieting
bruising more easily than normal
long-lasting bouts of diarrhea
recurring fevers and/or night sweats
swelling or hardening of glands located in the throat, armpit, or groin
periods of continued, deep, dry coughing
increasing shortness of breath
the appearance of discolored or purplish growths on the skin or inside the mouth
unexplained bleeding from growths on the skin, from mucous membranes, or from any opening in the body
recurring or unusual skin rashes
severe numbness or pain in the hands or feet, the loss of muscle control and reflex, paralysis, or loss of muscular strength
an altered state of consciousness, personality change, or mental deterioration
How can I avoid getting HIV?
The surest way is to abstain from sexual intercourse and from sharing needles and "works" if you use steroids, hormones, and other drugs.
If you choose to have sexual intercourse
Consider your partner's HIV status. Does your partner have other sex partners? Does your partner share needles?
Have safer sex to reduce the risk of exchanging blood, semen, or vaginal fluids with your sex partner(s).
What is “safer sex”?
“Safer-sex” activities lower our risk of exchanging blood, semen, or vaginal fluids — the body fluids most likely to spread HIV. Each of us must decide what risks we will take for sexual pleasure.
If you are using needles for steriods, hormones, or other drugs
Do not share needles.
Get into a needle-exchange program.
Be sure to disinfect the needles you use.
Don't share personal items that may be soiled with blood. This includes toothbrushes, razors, needles for piercing or tattooing, and blades for cutting or scarring.
Be tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections every year. Women and men with open sores from herpes and other infections get HIV more easily than other people.
Stay in charge. Good judgment and self-control are the basis of safer, healthier sex. Alcohol and drugs weaken both. Don't risk your good judgment and self-control with alcohol or other drugs.
HIV RISK COMPARISONS
Here are some common sex behaviors grouped according to relative risk
VERY LOW RISK — No reported cases due to these behaviors:
fantasy — cyber — or phone-sex
using clean sex toys
masturbation — mutual masturbation
touching — massage
erotic massage — body rubbing
oral sex on a man with a condom
oral sex on a woman with a Glyde® dam or plastic wrap
LOW RISK — Rare reported cases due to these behaviors
deep kissing (with blood letting)
vaginal intercourse with a condom or female condom
anal intercourse with a condom or female condom
(Try not to get semen, vaginal fluids, or blood into the mouth or on broken skin.)
HIGH RISK — Millions of reported cases due to these behaviors
vaginal intercourse without a condom
anal intercourse without a condom
What can a pregnant woman do if she thinks she's been exposed to HIV?
She should consult a health care provider who knows about HIV disease. Without treatment, about 25 percent of babies born to women with HIV are also infected. However, the use of anti-viral drugs, cesarean delivery, and refraining from breast feeding can reduce the risk of transmission to less than two percent.
Nevertheless, children born with HIV often develop AIDS. A pregnant woman with HIV may want to consider whether or not to continue her pregnancy.
Are there medical treatments for people with HIV disease?
A variety of treatments — combinations of medicines called “cocktails” — offer hope. They are often very expensive and are not available to everyone. They only work for some people and may only work for limited periods of time. While there is increasing hope for people with HIV, there is still no cure.
Is AIDS fatal for everyone who has it?
Some people have lived with AIDS for many years. New treatments and increased knowledge may help many more people live with AIDS even longer.
Where can I get tested for HIV?
Tests are available from Planned Parenthood health centers and most physicians, hospitals, and health clinics. Local, state, and federal health departments offer free testing. Some have anonymous HIV counseling and testing sites. You can also buy an anonymous HIV home test kit in a drugstore or at www.homeaccess.com. Tests are done with samples of blood, urine, or saliva. Some testing sites now offer rapid testing that can provide results in less than an hour.
Privacy and Testing
You can be tested "confidentially" or "anonymously." "Confidential testing” means your result will be put in a permanent medical record under your name. "Anonymous testing” means your name is not used. Some states require clinicians to report the names of those with HIV or AIDS to health officials. You may want counseling before and after testing. If your clinician doesn't offer it, contact one of the resources at the end of this pamphlet.
Should I be tested?
Testing may be especially right for you if you think that you or your sex partner(s) may be infected and
You want to slow the progress of the infection by receiving medical treatment.
You want to become a parent.
You and your partner know you will have no other partners for a number of years and you want to stop practicing safer sex.
You want to apply for health insurance, the armed forces, or a government agency that requires testing, and you want to know your status before applying.
What if I have HIV?
Consult a clinician experienced in treating HIV/AIDS.
Protect your sex partner(s) from HIV by following safer-sex guidelines.
Inform sex partner(s) who may also be infected.
Do not share needles or works.
Get psychological support with a therapist and/or join a support group for people with HIV.
Get information and social and legal support from an AIDS service organization.
Don't share your HIV status with people who do not need to know. Only tell people you can count on for support.
Maintain a strong immune system with regular medical checkups and a healthy lifestyle:
Get enough rest and exercise.
Avoid illegal and recreational drugs, including alcohol and tobacco.
Learn how to manage stress effectively.
Consider using anti-viral therapies that may slow the progress of the infection.
For additional information about AIDS and HIV
Call the toll-free CDC National AIDS Hotline: 1–800-342-AIDS (2437)