What is HIV?

For its acronym -HIV- human immunodeficiency virus. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Unlike other viruses, the human body cannot completely get rid of HIV. So once you have HIV, you have it for life.

What is AIDS?

AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, and not everyone with HIV progresses to this stage.

AIDS is the stage of infection that occurs when the immune system is severely damaged and the carrier becomes vulnerable to opportunistic infections.

Infections associated with severe immunodeficiency are known as “opportunistic infections” because they take advantage of a weakened immune system.

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV is commonly transmitted by:

  • Having unprotected sex (vaginal, anal or oral) (without using a condom) with a person living with HIV.
  • Sharing contaminated needles and syringes.
  • Between the mother and her child during pregnancy, childbirth and lactation.

HIV is not transmitted by:

  • Kisses, caresses, shaking hands, touching your partner.
  • Tears, sweat, saliva, cough or sneeze.
  • Living with people who have the virus.
  • Share objects of common use, clothing or food, showers, sinks or toilets, swimming pools, sports or leisure facilities, work space, residences, schools, spas, spas and public places.
  • Animal bites or stings such as mosquitoes or other insects.
  • Donate or receive blood, in countries where control is adequate.

How can I know if I am living with HIV?

The only way to know if you are living with HIV is to take an HIV test. We should all take the test at least once. However, you should get an HIV test, especially if:

  • You are sexually active (if you had sex with anyone since your last HIV test)
  • If you have injected drugs or shared needles
  • Yes you are pregnant

You can’t rely on symptoms to tell if you carry HIV. Many people living with HIV have no symptoms.

For information on where to find an HIV testing center, visit the nearest hospital, health post, or health center.

If you have been diagnosed as positive for HIV, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to start the appropriate treatment.