HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus
AIDS - Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome
HIV is the virus that attacks the body's immune and nervous systems. It leads, in its advanced stages, to AIDS. HIV weakens and destroys the immune system, until it can no longer defend the body against infection and disease. With the body unable to fight off infection and disease, the condition known as AIDS develops. With AIDS, the body is left prey to serious infections, such as pneumonia, and rare forms of cancer and other diseases. As such, these infections and diseases, and their subsequent complications, are what cause death in the person affected with HIV/AIDS.
- Anyone can be infected with the HIV virus.
- Presently there is no cure, but progress has been made in helping people live with HIV.
- The best current defence is prevention.
- HIV is transmitted when infected blood, seman, or vaginal fluid enters the bloodstream.
Modes of transmission include:
- unprotected vaginal and/or anal sex with someone who is already infected
- needle sharing during drug use with an infected person
- tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture with unsterilized needles
- infected blood or blood products transfusions
- from mother to child at birth or during breastfeeding
HIV cannot be transmitted by:
- casual touch
- hugging or kissing
- coughing or sneezing
- sharing common everyday items such as bed linen, cooking and eating utensils, food, etc.
- using swimming pools, toilets seats, etc.
- giving blood
- insects (ie; mosquitoes) or animal bites
The best method of prevention is abstinence.
If you or your partner are NOT infected with the HIV virus or other forms of STDs, and you are only having sex with each other or sharing needles with each other, then there is no risk of contracting AIDS/HIV.
However when engaging in sexual activity or drug activity with a partner or partners whose history(s) you are unsure of, then the best form of prevention is safe thinking. Engage in safer sex activities and/or safer needle use.
To lower the risk:
if sexually active:
- always use a latex condom with plenty of water based lubricant during vaginal or anal intercourse;
- always use a latex condom when engaging in oral sex with a man or dental dam (or latex condom cut open) when engaging in oral sex with a woman;
- always carry extra condoms;
- never use a condom more than once;
- if using sex toys, use a latex condom or thoroughly clean and disinfect them before using
if engaging in drug activity:
- always carry and use your own needle/syringe
- have extra needles/syringes available
- * disinfect the needle/syringe before using
* To disinfect a needle or syringe:
- Draw fresh water through the needle tip into the syringe until filled and squirt out.
- draw fresh household bleach through the needle tip into the syringe until filled and squirt out. Repeat once.
- Draw fresh water through the needle tip into the syringe until filled and squirt out. Repeat once.
Resources on campus:
- Wellness Program, Counselling Centre , UC 5000. Drop in for information or contact Kelly Neville, the Wellness Coordinator at 864-8874 OR email: email@example.com
- Student Health Services, UC 4th floor. For appointments or information, call 864-9597
- Woman's Resource Centre, UC 6th floor.
- LBGTMUN, UC 6th floor.
Resources in the community:
- your local doctor's office
- Newfoundland and Labrador AIDS Committee
- Health: community services, 738-4882