Medical Info about HIV
Medical Info About HIV
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus:
- It is a specific type of virus called a retrovirus that attacks immune system, Immune system protects you from illness
- HIV takes over healthy immune cells (CD4 or T-helper cells), makes copies, and then instead of fighting off infections, they produce more HIV. This weakens the immune system so that other opportunistic infections can occur.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome:
- It is caused by a virus called HIV
- The HIV-infected person is said to have AIDS when he/she becomes sick with other specific infections or when the number of T-helper cells has dropped below 200.
How HIV is Spread:
People can get HIV through:
- Unprotected sex (anal, vaginal, or oral)
- Sharing Needles while shooting drugs
- Tattooing, Body Piercing (if needles are contaminated)
- Infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy or delivery, and through breast feeding
The virus can be there even if the person has no symptoms of HIV-infection or AIDS. People who are infected with HIV will carry (and be able to pass on) the virus for the rest of their lives.
HIV CAN BE PREVENTED BY:
- Abstaining from Sex (vaginal, anal, or oral)
- Being Faithful: Maintaining a single long-term relationship with an uninfected partner
- Using a Condom consistently and correctly
- Although condoms offer a high degree of protection against sexual transmission of HIV, it should be noted that condom use cannot provide absolute protection against HIV. The surest way to avoid transmission of HIV is to abstain from sexual intercourse or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and you know is uninfected.
- Abstaining from injection drug use
- Using only sterile needles and syringes
- Treatment of HIV is a form of prevention
- Treatment as Prevention
How Do I Know if I Have HIV?
• A blood test or mouth swab may tell if you have HIV infection or AIDS. Rapid test results are available in 20 minutes.
Treatment for HIV/AIDS
• You can live well with HIV.• Treatment, including health care, medication and support services, is available that can help people living with HIV in Maryland live longer, healthier lives.
• It is important for anyone who tests HIV positive to see a doctor as soon as they learn their HIV status.
• If the individual does not have a health care provider or does not currently have health insurance, there are programs available to help the individual with HIV access medical care, medications and support services. Click here to find out about those.
For a complete list of resources offered by the government, please click here.