Valley Teen Clinic

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HIV & Aids

HIV stands for "Human Immuno-deficiency Virus"

The first word is HUMAN, which means it can only happen to humans. You cannot get HIV from monkeys, mosquitos, bears, lizards, or any other animals.

HIV infects several different cells of the immune system. The average healthy person has between 800-1200 T-cells per sample of blood (about two tablespoons worth.) As more T-cells become infected, there are fewer available to fight off disease (immune-deficiency.)

Diseases which a healthy immune system can overcome become very powerful and even life-threatening for someone with the HIV disease.

AIDS stands for "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome"
ACQUIRED - means you have to do something physical to get it. You are not going to walk down the street and suddenly get AIDS. A person will not get AIDS or HIV in the normal course of day-to-day contact with family, friends or coworkers unless that contact involves unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing of needles, or other exchange of blood.

You WILL NOT GET IT : shaking hands, hugging, sharing dishes, showers, bathrooms, telephones, etc...Don't be paranoid!

IMMUNE-DEFICIENCY - means a weakened immune system.

SYNDROME - is a set of illnesses you get because you have AIDS. Some people meet the diagnostic criteria for AIDS by having a presence of one or more of the following conditions:

Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS)

Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP)

One of several designated opportunistic infections (OI)

HIV-related wasting syndrome

Having 200 T-Cells or below

How do you get HIV/AIDS
This virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood contact or by unprotected sexual activity. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnacy or delivery, as well as through breast feeding. People become infected with HIV from these bodily fluids:

* blood

* semen

* pre-cum

* vaginal fluids

* breast milk

Most people with HIV infection will develop AIDS.