More than 1.1 million people in the United States are currently living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 6 (15.8%) are unaware of their infection.
"HIV" stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus:
H - Human - This particular virus can only infect human beings.
I - Immunodeficiency - HIV weakens your immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. A "deficient" immune system can't protect you.
V - Virus - A virus can only reproduce itself by taking over a cell in the body of its host.
"AIDS" stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome:
A - Acquired - AIDS is not something you inherit from your parents. You acquire AIDS after birth.
I - Immuno - Your body's immune system includes all the organs and cells that work to fight off infection or disease.
D - Deficiency - You get AIDS when your immune system is "deficient," or isn't working the way it should.
S - Syndrome - A syndrome is a collection of symptoms and signs of disease. AIDS is a syndrome, rather than a single disease, because it is a complex illness with a wide range of complications and symptoms.
HIV Symptoms Can Include:
Certain body fluids from an HIV-infected person can transmit HIV:
HIV is spread mainly by:
Less commonly, HIV may be spread by:
HIV is NOT spread by:
HIV Positive Progression to AIDS:
Being diagnosed with HIV does NOT mean a person will also be diagnosed with AIDS. Healthcare professionals diagnose AIDS only when people with HIV disease begin to get severe opportunistic infections or their CD4 counts fall below a certain level.
Aids Symptoms Include:
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested.
Testing is relatively simple. You can get an HIV test from your doctor or healthcare provider, community health center, Veteran’s health center, Title X family planning clinic, and other locations. There also are FDA-approved HIV home test kits you can use.
The original rainbow flag, called the Freedom Flag, was devised by Gilbert Baker in 1978. The design has undergone several revisions since its debut with 8 colored stripes, and today the most common variant consists of 6 stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
Picture of Gilbert Baker's original Freedom Flag showing the meaning of the 8 colors.
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