HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus
HIV is a virus that attacks your immune system. Your immune system is your body’s built-in defense against diseases. Although your immune system is supposed to protect you from infections, HIV can sneak past it. HIV then attacks your immune system from the inside. Without HIV treatment, your immune system can become too weak to fight off serious illnesses. HIV can also damage other parts of your body. Eventually, you can become sick with life-threatening infections. These are called “opportunistic infections”, meaning they take the opportunity to infect a weak immune system. This is the most serious stage of HIV infection, called AIDS.
How is HIV Transmitted?
HIV is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or body fluid of someone who is infected with the virus. HIV infections happen when enough HIV from an HIV positive person gets into an HIV negative person’s body.
Only 5 body fluids can contain enough viruses to infect someone else:
HIGH RISK Activities:
1. Unprotected sex (oral, anal, vaginal)
2. Sharing used needles (this includes tattoo and body piercing equipment)
3. During child birth and breast feeding (from an HIV positive mother to her child)
You CANNOT get HIV from:
Signs & Symptoms
Often people who are newly HIV infected have few or no symptoms. Other times, symptoms of HIV are confused with other illnesses such as the flu. If a person were to have symptoms they would include:
Across Canada 1 in 5 people living with HIV have not been diagnosed.
The only way to know for sure is to GET TESTED!
***You need to wait 3 months from last exposure to have accurate results***
Places to get tested in Regina: HIV/STI Testing
There is no cure for HIV, but with proper care and treatment, most people with HIV can avoid getting AIDS and live a long and healthy life. Anti-HIV drugs have to be taken every day.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome
HIV and AIDS are not the same thing!
When the body is no longer able to fight off disease, opportunistic infections such as pneumonia and cancer take over the body. This is known as AIDS and is a disease caused by HIV.
You can have HIV and live your whole life and not get AIDS.