HIV Basics

Did you know that  HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease? With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. Children infected with HIV are now expected to live a normal to near normal lifespan

People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Help end stigma. Become educated about HIV/AIDS. Know the facts and SHARE them with others.


  • HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS.
  • HIV damages a person’s body by destroying specific blood cells, called CD4+ T cells, which are crucial to helping the body fight diseases.
  • AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection, when a person’s immune system is severely damaged and has difficulty fighting diseases and certain cancers. Before the development of certain medications, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Currently, people can live much longer – even decades – with HIV before they develop AIDS.
  • It takes around ten years on average for someone with HIV to develop AIDS. However, this average is based on the person with HIV having a reasonable diet, and someone who is malnourished may well progress from HIV to AIDS more rapidly.
  • Since 1996, the introduction of powerful antiretroviral therapies has dramatically changed the progression time between HIV infection and the development of AIDS. There are also other medical treatments that can prevent or cure some of the illnesses associated with AIDS, though the treatments do not cure AIDS itself. Studies are now underway to determine how long the development of AIDS can be avoided by using these drugs.

Watch this informative, short video  including  HIV/AIDS facts.

Transmission (how a person can acquire HIV):

  • Sexual Intercourse with person who is infected with HIV: body fluids such as semen and vaginal fluids.
  • Contact with an infected person’s blood: This includes tainted blood transfusions (In much of the world this is no longer a significant risk, as blood donations are routinely tested for HIV), sharing needles for recreational drug use or medical use.
  • From mother to child: HIV can be transmitted from an infected woman to her baby during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding.

 Ways a person can NOT acquire HIV:

  • Hugging, kissing or any other casual contact with an HIV infected person
  • Changing diapers
  • Sharing a bath or swimming with an HIV infected person
  • Sharing a cup or eating utensil with an infected person
  •  HIV is not transmitted through urine, stool, mucous, tears or sweat.

Watch this quick 2 minute video about how living with an HIV+ person is NOT risky to your health. 

Preventing mother to child transmission of HIV

Mother to child transmission of HIV can be prevented by using antiretroviral drugs, which reduce the chances of a child becoming infected with HIV from around 25% to less than 2%. Once a child is born, safer infant feeding practices can also greatly reduce the risk of HIV being passed on from mother to child.

Worldwide HIV/AIDS Statistics:

United States HIV/AIDS Statistics:

*complied using information from:

One Response to “HIV Basics”


  1. HIV+ Adoption and the Three F’s « Precious and Positive - April 29, 2010

    […] HIV Basics […]

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