HIV/AIDS: The basics
There is a lot of different information out there about HIV and AIDS and it can be really confusing. I’m really lucky that I had someone who could break it down for me and answer some of my questions.
To start off, HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS and AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Below, you can check out the answers to some of the questions that people often ask me about HIV, how to test, and how to protect yourself.
What’s the difference between HIV and AIDS?
This is a question I get a lot! HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system and weakens your body’s ability to fight diseases and infections. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a later stage of HIV disease that involves severe damage to the immune system. Someone who already has HIV is said to have AIDS when the immune system is really weak and may not be able to fight off certain infections.
How is HIV transmitted (how do people get it)?
There are four body fluids that can transmit HIV: blood, semen (cum), vaginal fluids, and breast milk. One of the four fluids from an infected person has to get into your blood stream in order for you to get infected.
Remember, you can only get HIV from somebody who already has it. These fluids usually enter the body through unprotected vaginal sex, unprotected anal sex, or sharing needles. Some people are born with HIV, since HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. The good news is that if a pregnant woman, knows or finds out she has HIV, there are several things she and her doctor can do to prevent the baby from getting it.