Let’s look at this thing called HIV the “Human Immunodeficiency Virus.”
We already know that a virus is something that makes you sick, but can’t be cured.
Immunodeficiency means that this virus attacks the immune system, making it weaker.
Your immune system is what your body uses to fight off diseases. When your immune system is strong, you are less likely to get sick.
The H is for Human and the V for Virus. But where does HIV come from?
No one really knows. But there sure are a lot of crazy rumours about it.
Like that HIV was brought to Africa by white people.
Or that HIV came from gay people.
I’ve even heard that HIV comes from monkeys.
None of that is true! But it doesn’t really matter where HIV came from, what matters is that it is here and it is real.
There are a couple of ways you can get HIV: • Unprotected sexual intercourse with infected person • Unscreened infected blood transfusion • Use of contaminated sharp objects • Infected mother-to-child transmission (In the womb, during birth and through breast feeding)
Does having an STI put you at greater risk of getting HIV?
Yes, a person who has STI such as herpes or syphilis which result in sores or ulcer is at a greater risk of transmitting or contracting HIV.
So, since HIV is in your blood and body fluids, does that mean you can get it from kissing? Or a mosquito bite – like malaria?
You definitely CANNOT get it from mosquitoes. Mosquitoes don’t transfer blood from one person to another.
With kissing, the chances are very small – since you can't get HIV from saliva, you'd have to somehow be sharing blood with the person. You should be careful if you or the person you are kissing has open sores in or on his/her mouth.
And you can only get it through some sort of exchange of bodily fluids, so you can’t catch it from hugging, sharing utensils or living in the same house as someone with HIV.
Ways you CANNOT get HIV: · Sharing clothing or towels · Swimming in the same pool · Playing football or another game · Sharing a toilet
Since HIV is a virus that lives in the body fluid, there really aren’t any symptoms. There might be some signs, like feeling sicker than usual, or getting sick more often.
The best way of knowing whether you have HIV, though, is to get tested regularly if you are sexually active.
People who are sexually active should get tested every time they change partners, or at least once a year even if they are in a relationship. Sometimes people get HIV from their partners, who were sleeping with someone else without telling them.
Are you sure there aren’t any symptoms?
There are no symptoms and you cannot even accurately tell when someone has AIDS without a HIV test.
HIV eventually leads to AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. When someone has AIDS, they basically have no immune system left to protect their body from illness.
That’s right. And it’s important to remember, because sometimes we can be extra mean to people who have HIV. People with HIV and AIDS need the same things as everyone else – care, love and attention.
People often discriminate against people who have HIV. They discriminate when they won't hire them, or share things with them, or refuse to be around them or live with them.
This sort of discrimination can actually make people more sick!
While HIV can’t be cured, there are drugs that can slow the progress from HIV to AIDS and help people live longer with the virus. People with HIV need to take a little extra care of their health, and sometimes we forget that.
If someone with HIV gets support and care, he can live a long and healthy life!
That is why it’s so important not to discriminate, and to stand up when you see other people doing it.
Some Ways You Can Help Someone With HIV · Help them around the house · Make sure they have enough food · Show them love and care · Take care of them when they’re sick · Most importantly, treat them as you would treat anyone else!
Unfortunately, HIV does not have a cure.
Are you sure HIV can’t be cured? I heard someone say that you could get better if you had sex with a virgin.
Tunde, you shouldn’t believe everything you hear! That myth is dangerous – you would almost definitely expose the virgin to HIV! Plus, it’s just wrong: HIV is a VIRUS, and can’t be cured. It can be prevented, through the same way any STI can.
You mean through abstaining from sex?
That’s a big part of it. Abstinence, if you practice it correctly, is the best way to protect yourself.
Though HIV can be scary, you can protect yourself by knowing the facts, knowing your status, and making responsible choices.
Spread the information, not the virus!
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