The Following are HIV FAQ or frequently asked questions that most people have about HIV and AIDS.

What Is HIV?

HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that only interacts with humans and works by weakening the immune system. This is through destroying the crucial cells that help the body fight infections and diseases. This virus reproduces only if it is in a cell in the host’s body. HIV is just like other viruses that cause common cold or the flu. The only difference is that the body can deal with these viruses. The body cannot deal with the HIV virus which makes it a little different. Once you have HIV, you have it for life because there is currently no cure.

What Is AIDS?

AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is the most advanced stage of HIV. The syndrome is something you acquire. It means that the immune system has been destroyed by the HIV virus to a point that the body has a difficult time fighting minor illnesses and infections. When the immune system is not working as it should or has reached a certain level, the patient is diagnosed with AIDS. AIDS is a complex illness or a syndrome that comes with a wide range of symptoms and signs of diseases and different complications.

What Is The Difference Between AIDS and HIV?

AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV. This means that not everyone who has HIV has AIDS. People at the AIDS stage of the HIV infection have a severely damaged immune system. This stage puts their body at risk of opportunistic infections which only affect a person with a weakened immune system.  At this stage, an infected person will need medical intervention and proper treatment. Fortunately, there is modern HIV medication that can help suppress the virus to undetectable levels. This helps the infected live longer and healthier lives.

How Do You Get HIV?

HIV is only transmitted from one person to another through particular body fluids from a HIV positive person. These body fluids include Semen, pre-seminal fluid, blood, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, and breast milk. Infection happens when these body fluids come into contact with damaged tissue, when they are injected directly into the blood stream or in contact with the mucous membrane. The mucous membrane is a soft moist area inside openings of the body. They are found in the vagina, penis, mouth, and the rectum.

In most cases, HIV transmission through having vaginal or anal sex, sharing needles and syringes with someone who has HIV. It’s also important to note that HIV is NOT spread through air, insects, water, saliva, sweat, tears, and casual contact such as hugging, shaking hands or sharing utensils, toilet seat or drinking fountains.

Who Is At Risk Of HIV Infection?

While HIV is more common in some communities than others, everyone is at risk of infection. It is all about what you do and not who you are that will put you into risk of infection or save you. It’s more about behavior that the person you are.

What Are The Symptoms of HIV?

The symptoms of HIV will vary depending on which stage of the disease someone is at. There are many people who do not experience any symptoms. When dealing with HIV, symptoms cannot be a sure way to tell if someone is infected. The only sure way to find out your status is through HIV testing.

What If I Am HIV Positive?

If you test HIV positive, it is important that you start using antiretroviral therapy as soon as possible. The medicines in this therapy should be taken according to prescription to give you a longer healthier life. These medications work by reducing the viral load in the body to undetectable levels. This also means that HIV transmission rate will reduce significantly. Talk to your health care practitioner for the best medicine combination.

Can Latex Condoms Prevent HIV?

If you use latex condoms properly and consistently, they can be great in stopping HIV transmission. Keep in mind that the use of condoms can provide protection but not 100%. The surest way to avoid HIV is to abstain from sex or be in a long-term exclusive relationship with someone who tested negative.

Is It Possible To Get HIV From Oral Sex?

Yes, it is possible. This is one of the most common HIV FAQ. Whether you are getting or giving oral sex, it is possible to get HIV. Though there is no exact definition of the risk, evidence shows that it is less risky than having unprotected vaginal or anal sex. To be safe, use a latex condom for a man and a latex barrier for a woman.

Can I Get HIV From Anal Sex?

Well, unprotected anal sex is highly risky when it comes to HIV infection. When engaging in anal sex, use a latex condom. They are likely to break which is why you need to use a lot of water-based lubricant.

Where Can I Get A HIV Test?

The common places where you can get tested for HIV include your local health department, doctor’s office, clinic, hospital or the many testing sites that specifically provide HIV testing.

Why Should A Pregnant Woman Get A Test?

It is very important that for all pregnant mothers to get tests for HIV. This is to take the advantage of early detection. If the mother is HIV positive, the use of HIV treatment will help prevent Mother-to-child infection.

How Long Does It Take HIV to Advance To AIDS?

The period it takes for AIDS symptoms to show up depends greatly on the infected individual. This will depend on how you are taking care of yourself and your general health. Initially, scientists thought that about 50% of people with HIV would develop AIDS within a period of 10 years. However, with new HIV medicines, this is changing the statistics for people living with HIV.

To Conclude The HIV FAQ

It is important to protect yourself and the people around you when it comes to HIV. Use protection every time you engage in sexual activities and get a test once on a while especially if you are sexually active or have multiple sexual partners. If your question is not covered in this HIV FAQ, you can contact us and ask your question.