HIV and AIDS are not the same thing.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This is the virus that causes AIDS. A person can be HIV-positive for many years without becoming sick. The virus is still living in their body and can be transmitted to another person.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. A person can only be diagnosed with AIDS by a doctor. This happens when their T-cell or CD4 count is below 200 or they become infected with an AIDS defining illness.
HIV/AIDS affect the immune system.
HIV invades cells of the immune system and uses their replication abilities to reproduce. When a person has AIDS, their body may be at risk for acquiring many infections. Some bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that once seemed harmless may cause serious illness, or even death, when a person has AIDS.
HIV can only be transmitted through blood, vaginal fluid, semen, or breast milk. It cannot be transmitted through sweat, saliva, or tears.
HIV/AIDS is transmitted through intimate physical or sexual contact with a person who is infected, through blood-to-blood contact with a person who is infected, and a mother can pass the virus to her baby during labor, delivery or breastfeeding. HIV is NOT transmitted: by sneezing or coughing on people, by swimming in a pool, by a handshake, hug, or even a kiss.
HIV does not discriminate.
You cannot tell by someone’s appearance if they have HIV or not. HIV affects people of all races, ethnicity, genders, and sexual orientations.
Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U)
If the amount of HIV present in a person’s blood is undetectable by a blood test, then that person CANNOT transmit HIV to another person.
Sister Susan's Key "To Do's"
If You Have HIV/AIDS
1. Learn about the virus
2. Connect with an HIV/AIDS specialist
3. Stick to your medication regimen
4. Track your healthcare progress
5. Seek support
6. Disclose your status selectively
If You Know Someone With HIV/AIDS
1. Educate yourself on the virus.
2. Allow your loved one or family member to choose to whom and when they reveal their HIV status.
3. Counseling, prayer and meditation or a support group may help you to deal with this news.
4. Resist the temptation to judge.