Questions & Answers
December 1, 2008 is the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day is a day set aside to bring attention to the serious health issue of HIV and AIDS – here in Canada and around the world. World AIDS Day helps to raise awareness and educate people about stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS.
How much do you know about HIV and AIDS? Can you answer the following questions?
1. What is the international symbol of AIDS awareness?
A red ribbon.
2. What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. The HIV virus attacks the immune system.
A person with HIV can live a relatively normal life for many years. Gradually, however, the immune system of the HIV infected person is weakened and becomes vulnerable to infections and other diseases. At this stage, the person is said to have AIDS.
3. Can mosquitoes transmit HIV?
No. Mosquitoes cannot transmit HIV. When biting a person, the mosquito does not inject blood from the previous person. The only thing that a mosquito injects into a person’s body is saliva. The saliva acts as a lubricant and enables it to feed more efficiently.
4. How do most people become infected with HIV?
Sexual intercourse (vaginal and anal) without a condom.
5. Approximately how many people are living with HIV worldwide?
6. How many women in the world are living with HIV?
Worldwide about 50% of the people living with HIV are women. Most women become infected with HIV by their husband or boyfriend through unprotected sex (not using condoms).
7. How does a person know if he or she has HIV?
A person infected with HIV may have no obvious symptoms. The only way to know is to get an HIV antibody blood test. You can go to any community clinic or doctor’s office. You have to ask for an HIV test and give your permission for the test to be done. All tests are free and the results are confidential.
8. Can saliva transmit HIV?
No. HIV cannot be passed on by saliva. Bodily fluids such as saliva, urine or tears do not contain enough HIV to transmit the virus to other people. You can’t become infected with HIV through everyday contact such as shaking hands or using the same toilet. Blood, semen and vaginal secretions of an infected person do contain enough HIV to be transmitted. Kissing does not transmit HIV unless the blood of an infected person can get into a partner’s body through cuts in the mouth.
9. If an HIV positive pregnant woman receives treatment, how likely is her baby to be born with HIV?
If a woman is HIV positive and pregnant, there is about a 25% chance that the baby will be infected with HIV. If she takes treatment, the chance of the baby being born with HIV is greatly reduced to less than 2%. The earlier in pregnancy the woman knows if she is HIV positive, the more treatment options she has.
10. Is there a cure for AIDS?
There is no cure for AIDS. There are treatments available to help people living with HIV/AIDS stay healthy and to prolong their lives. To date, there is no vaccine to prevent HIV. Everyone must take responsibility for discussing HIV with their sexual partner. Using condoms is the best way to protect yourself against becoming infected with HIV
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