HIV is a virus
HIV works by infecting the cells of living organisms. (damaging the immune system)
The infected cells will then replicate (make copies).
The HIV then spreads.
People with HIV are known to be HIV positive.
When you have HIV your immune system is damaged, meaning your body struggles to fight off other infections (eg. AIDS).
Without medical treatment after about ten years the HIV will turn into AIDS.
Antiretroviral medication can slow down the time of change between HIV and AIDS.
AIDS is a killer virus and once diagnosed with it you are most likely to die very quickly.
There is no cure.
You can only be infected with HIV through another person with the virus. HIV is found in the blood and the sexual fluids of an infected person, and in the breast milk of an infected woman. Here are ways you can catch the virus:
Having unprotected sex with an infected person.
Close contact with an infected person’s blood.
Use of infected blood.
Mother to child - a mother with HIV giving birth to a child or a child drinking the mothers milk.
It is not possible to be infected with HIV through:
Sharing crockery and cutlery.
Touching, hugging or shaking hands.
Eating food prepared by someone with HIV.
Kissing someone with HIV on the cheek does not pose any risk of you catching the disease. However ‘in mouth’ kissing does have a very low risk and there has been one incident. However, both of those peoples gums were bleeding.
There is no actual cure for HIV & AIDS. However there are ways you can prevent yourself from catching the virus in the first place, or slowing down the transmission from HIV to AIDS.
You can prevent yourself from getting AIDS by using contraception when having sex with people who are HIV+ and not coming in close contact with their blood.
If you already have HIV you can use antiretroviral medication, which slows the progression from HIV to AIDS and keeps some people healthy for many years.