WHAT IS HIV/AIDS? WHAT CAUSES AIDS? AIDS. Healthy persons become infected when they have direct or indirect contact AIDS, acquired immune deficiency HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, infects with blood or fluids/ secretions of HIV syndrome, is a sexually transmitted and destroys a type of white blood cells infected persons. disease caused by the virus known as known at T-Lymphocytes. These cells HIV/AIDS is transmitted through the HIV (human immune deficiency virus). have a major duty of defending our body following routes: Infection with HIV causes gradual from germs that cause disease. In the Sexual intercourse destruction of T-Lymphocytes that course of HIV infection more and more of Sharing of contaminated needles naturally defend the body against these cells become infected and Transplacentally from mother to infections. This results in increased consequently destroyed resulting in the fetus; through suckling of susceptibility of the body to infections. gradual decrease in the number of T- breast milk Lymphocytes. When the decrease goes HIV/AIDS spreads from person to below a certain critical level the body will WHO IS AT RISK FOR person mainly through sexual be unable to defend it and becomes HIV/AIDS? intercourse. Since its first recognition susceptible to infections that would over two decades ago HIV/AIDS has otherwise be unusual in normal healthy HIV/AIDS respects no age, sex, race or rapidly spread to every country to persons. Such infections are called social class. It infects people with risk become a major global public health opportunistic infections. behaviors that make them susceptible to problem. It has claimed millions of lives, HIV infection. The following are major has orphaned millions and is infecting WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF HIV risk factors for HIV/AIDS many more. INFECTION? Sexual promiscuity; Poor countries of the world are the most Both HIV infected persons with AIDS as Having unprotected sexual affected. India, South Africa, and well as without AIDS can transmit the intercourse, Ethiopia are the three countries most infection to healthy persons. Intravenous drug use affected. There are many African-born Use of substances that affect immigrants living with HIV/AIDS in HOW IS HIV/AIDS TRANSMITTED? judgment including alcohol Minnesota. When categorized by their country of birth immigrants born in HIV/AIDS is transmitted from HIV Ethiopia have the highest number of HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE infected persons with AIDS or from persons with HIV/AIDS followed by FOR HIV INFECTED PERSON persons infected with HIV without AIDS. those born in Liberia and Kenya. The blood and body fluids and secretions TO DEVELOP AIDS? such as male sperm, vaginal secretions, breast milk of these persons have large The transition is variable and depends on concentration of HIV, the virus that causes many factors. Some people develop AIDS within a few months following the initial infection. Others do so after 10 to Decide with your fiancée to have HIV 15 years. Therefore, it is difficult to give screening before marriage. a time frame in weeks, months or years. FACTS IS THERE CURE FOR About HIV/AIDS? WHAT ABOUT VACCINE? Despite all efforts still there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. There is no vaccine. But HIV/AIDS is treatable. Development of HIV/AIDS newer drugs has enabled infected persons to live longer, and to significantly decrease the number of HIV infected infants born to mothers with HIV/AIDS. Today the only realistic means is to protect ourselves from getting infected. HOW CAN WE PROTECT OURSELVES? New Americans Community Services This is accomplished by avoiding behaviors and factors considered risky: Health Education Unit Abstain from having sex 1821 University Avenue W. Suite: S286 If you are married and both of you tested Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of MN Telephone: 651-287-5223 negative for HIV, be Fidel to your Facsimiles: 651-287-5227 partner. Avoid having unprotected sex; & St. Paul, MN 55104 always use latex condoms. Or click on: www.newamericans.u Avoid sharing needles with others; avoid Community Volunteers taking narcotic drugs and avoid drinking alcohol.