What Is HIV?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus attacks and destroys cells in the immune system. The immune system fights off disease. When the immune system is damaged, we are more likely to get diseases that our body would normally fight off. It may take a long time, even up to 10 years, for symptoms of a damaged immune system to appear. The symptoms of a damaged immune system are called AIDS. Some people who have been exposed to HIV never do have symptoms of AIDS.

What Is AIDS?
AIDS stands for Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome. The following are symptoms seen with AIDS:

  • Repeat vaginal yeast infections
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Abnormal Pap Smears
  • Thick white coating or patches in the mouth or on the tongue (yeast)
  • Rapid weight loss (15 or more pounds in 2 months if not due to diet or exercise)
  • Cough with shortness of breath that continues to get worse
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Swollen glands in neck, armpits, or groin
  • Pink or purple marks or bumps on the skin or inside your mouth
  • These symptoms are common with many less serious diseases so talk to your health practitioner, especially if you have:
  • More than one symptom at a time
  • Any one symptom that lasts over 1 month

How Is HIV Passed From One Person To Another?
The virus is passed to other people through sexual contacts. This means exchange of vaginal secretions and seminal fluid. This includes putting the penis into the vagina and rectum. It also includes contact between genitals by mouth or through the use of sex toys.

The virus is also passed in the blood through sharing needles during intravenous drug use ("shooting up").

  • Studies show that HIV cannot be transmitted by casual contact such as:
  • Shaking hands, hugging, dry kissing (with no exchange of saliva), sneezing, or coughing
  • Swimming in a pool with a person who is HIV infected
  • Sharing eating and drinking utensils
  • Sharing toilets, bathrooms, or kitchens

Who Is At Risk For Getting AIDS/HIV?
Anyone is at risk unless they are having sex with only one partner and that partner does not have any other partners. If either has had one or more other partners, they should have the HIV test. You are also more likely to be at risk if:

  • You have sex without using condoms
  • You share drug needles
  • You have sex with gay or bisexual men

What Are The Tests For HIV?
There are two tests for HIV, the blood test and Orasure. With Orasure, a pad is placed in the mouth for 2 minutes. Both tests are sent to a laboratory for a reading. It itakes 7 to 10 days for results to come back.

There are very rarely false positive and false negative tests. If you are indoubt about the results, get tested again.

What Are The treatments for HIV?
Use Safer Sex practices:

  • Always use a condoms with every sex act. (vaginal or rectal. also oral sex)
  • Use a water-based spermicide as a lubricant for vaginal or anal sex.
  • Decrease chance of eschanging body fluids (vaginal secretions, seminal fluid, and blood) by using other ways to express caring such as cuddling, touching, fantasizing, or mutual masturbation.

24 hour toll-free AIDS Hotline: 1800-445-AIDS

Remember, AIDS has the potential for lasting longer than your partner!

The health information provided on is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Nothing stated by this website or linked pages should be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you have an urgent medical problem call 911 immediately or contact your healthcare provider.