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ACWN
Symbol of HIV and AIDS Awareness
Frequently Ask Questions
?

What is HIV?

Answer:

AIDS is caused by a germ or virus. The AIDS virus is called the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is HIV that is spread from one person to another. Actually, HIV is the thing we should worry most about because it is the germ or virus. AIDS is the disease that may develop once a person has been infected with HIV.

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ACWN
Symbol of HIV and AIDS Awareness
Frequently Ask Questions
?

How is HIV Spread?

Answer:

Research shows that HIV is mainly spread:

  •   Through sexual intercourse with an infected person.

  •   By sharing an infected needle or syringe.


HIV can also be spread through blood transfusions (although this is highly unlikely because all blood is now tested) and from an infected mother to her baby, before, during, or after birth.

Research also shows that you can't get HIV from:

  •   sneezing or coughing
  •   sitting next to someone
  •   touching or shaking hands
  •   using toilets, water fountains, or telephones
  •   sharing tools or equipment
  •   eating in the cafeteria
  •   swimming in a pool or showering in a locker room


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ACWN
Symbol of HIV and AIDS Awareness
Frequently Ask Questions
?

What about HIV Testing?

Answer:

The HIV antibody test (the AIDS test) does not detect the virus. Antibody tests measure antibodies in your blood which you make to fight disease.

A 'positive' anti-HIV test result indicates that you have antibodies to HIV, and therefore have been infected by the virus. This means you are sero-positive, a carrier of HIV and are capable of giving the virus to others. It does not mean that you have AIDS.

A 'negative' anti-HIV test result indicated that no HIV antibodies have been found. However, it can take three months or more from the time of infection to develop antibodies. For this reason, a test done less than three months after you have had unprotected sex or shared needles may not be valid.

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ACWN
Symbol of HIV and AIDS Awareness
Frequently Ask Questions
?

Can you tell if your partner is infected?

Answer:

A person carrying HIV does not look any different. Most people who have an STD, including HIV, have no symptoms.

When Jane and John Doe first met, they talked about everything but the fact that three years ago, he has shot drugs and used someone else's needles. His past put him at risk for being a carrier of HIV now.

When Jane had unsafe sex with Peter, she was taking a bigger chance that she realized.


The past of your sex partners - even ten years in the past - may be a risk for you now, today. A direct question does not guarantee a true answer. Most people infected with HIV do not know it themselves. And even if they think they may have been at risk, they may not be comfortable talking about it.

After living together for three years, Jane and Steve broke up. That's when Jane found out that Steve had been having sex with men before and during their relationship. She realized that Steve could have been infected and that she might have been exposed to the virus.

If you have been separated from your partner and then get back together, don't assume that either of you are still at low risk.

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ACWN
Symbol of HIV and AIDS Awareness
Frequently Ask Questions
?

What choices do I have?

Answer:

Because you can't be sure about who has HIV and who doesn't, many people are deciding to protect themselves at all times and with all partners.

The pill and other methods of birth control will not help to protect you from STDs and AIDS. Only a condom can.

You can decide always to use condoms and to practice protected vaginal and anal sex. If you choose to have non-protected oral sex, which is less risky, you can try to avoid getting semen or vaginal fluid in your mouth.

You can choose not to have any penetration at all and can find pleasure instead in massage, hugging, petting, mutual masturbation and erotic fantasizing.

You have to decide what level of risk and what sexual activities are right for you.

If you choose to shoot drugs, don't borrow or loan needles or other equipment. Clean your works twice with bleach and rinse them well with water. Using someone else's needles puts both you and those you share with at risk. Have your own works, and don't loan them.

If you are planning on having a baby, you and your partner may wish to consider having the test before pregnancy if you feel it may influence your decision to get pregnant. If your partner is infected with HIV and you are not, you might become infected. Or, perhaps you already have the virus. In either case, you may infect your unborn baby. You may decide to wait and have the test once you are already pregnant. But it can be more difficult to make decisions at this stage.


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