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The ABCs on HIV/AIDS

Nov 30, 2010

It's pretty easy to think that HIV/AIDS is a disease for other people to worry about, but it's a big problem. In 2007, it's estimated that AIDS killed 2.1 million people worldwide, including 330,000 children. So get the facts to be able to protect yourself from HIV and AIDS.

What Is HIV/AIDS?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is a disease. HIV wreaks havoc on the immune system by destroying the T lymphocyte, or T cell (a type of white blood cell that fights off germs and diseases). When your immune system has weakened and the T cells have been completely destroyed, HIV turns into AIDS.

How Does It Spread?

HIV isn't like a cold or flu virus. You can't get it by being sneezed or coughed on, or by holding someone's hand. The only way HIV is passed is through direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids.

  • Having sex with a person who has HIV
  • Sharing needles or syringes with a person who has HIV
  • Being born to a mother who has HIV

What Are the Symptoms?

People can be infected with HIV without even knowing it because it can take up to a few years until they start to experience any symptoms! But, they will eventually begin to feel sick. Symptoms range from diarrhea and weight loss to infections in the mouth and fevers that come and go. Since the immune system is so weak, other infections and diseases can develop, like skin cancer and pneumonia, which causes coughing and breathing problems.

How Is It Treated?

Unfortunately, there's no cure for HIV or AIDS, but special medications can slow down the disease and help people live longer lives. The good news is that scientists and doctors are currently researching vaccines that may be able to prevent HIV infections in the future.

Did You Know?

  • It's estimated that there are 40,000 new infections in the United States each year. At least half of these infections are among people under 25.
  • Approximately 2,000 children worldwide are infected with HIV each day.
  • More than 95% of people with HIV live in third-world countries.
  • Since the first cases were identified in 1981, more than 25 million people worldwide have died from AIDS.
  • October is World AIDS Awareness Month.
  • World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1st.
  • People wear red ribbons to support the fight against AIDS.

Head to www.aids.org for more info on HIV and AIDS.

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  • February 18th.
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  • September 11th.
  • December 1st.

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-Gwen9--
-Gwen9-- posted in Friends:
"jordand08" wrote:Thank you.You're welcome. :)
reply about 8 hours
donteatcarrots
talk to the person you're closest too. yes, you said you don't get close with people, but there's probably one person who you speak to more often than others- talk to that person.
reply about 10 hours
donteatcarrots
donteatcarrots posted in Friends:
Don't worry too much- it's only your first relationship- but I'd sit down with him at one point, and discuss what makes you uncomfortable, eg; if you know what I mean...
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donteatcarrots
donteatcarrots posted in Friends:
Probably sound a little stereotypical, but the majority of boys don't really act like that... Ask him :p
reply about 10 hours
kittenkid
First: WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T KILL YOUSELF! When you get past this you'll be glad. Well, this is just my opinion, but I think you should first find someone, anyone, even if you don't trust them, if there're your parents talk to them about it. I bet a bunch of people have already told you this but there're right. Before you walk up to them, write down what you're going to say and then think of a few questions they might ask and write down the answers to them. Remember to tell them that it might take you a minute to think of an answer. Before you answer, think of the exact words you will say  before you say anything, and think in your mind about it. Think about wether it is a lie or not before you say it. If it gets out of you mouth before you realize it is a lie, don't be afraid to say so and just say the truth. Also, just try to find something you like to do that will take your mind off everything. If you really can't think of anything, try just practicing saying your feelings to yourself, or a pillow or something.  Hope this helps!
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