World AIDS Day: What You Need to Know About HIV/AIDS

world aids day 2017

AIDS. It’s a term we’re all well aware of. A virus that has killed over 35 million people since it was first identified in 1984. But what do you actually know about AIDS and its virus, HIV? Although we’ve all heard about AIDS on the news and in the media, there’s actually quite a bit of misinformation out there about what it actually is, how it is spread, and what we can do to treat it. In order to fight this pandemic, we must first be informed.

World AIDS Day began in 1988, and is held annually on December 1st to show support for those living with HIV and remember the millions who have died from AIDS-related illnesses. World AIDS Day is an important reminder that AIDS has not disappeared and it still a global pandemic that impacts people around the world. On World AIDS Day, we remind the government and the general public that there is still a need for awareness, education, donations, and increased resources. The theme for World AIDS Day 2017 is “Increasing Impact Through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships.”

In honor of World AIDS Day, which takes place on December 1, 2017, we’re taking the time to answer some common questions about AIDS and HIV.

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. It is transmitted through sexual fluids, breast milk, or sexual fluids. The only definite way to prevent HIV is to abstain from sex. Once you are infected with HIV, you will have it for life. An estimated 36.7 million people are living with HIV around the world.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a syndrome that impacts those in the last stage of HIV. AIDS weakens the immune system to the point where it can no longer fight diseases and infections. It leaves you vulnerable to many serious illnesses, which is why many die of AIDS.

How do you know if you have HIV?

One of the major issues with HIV is that many who have HIV do not experience any symptoms. In fact, 1 in 5 people in the U.S. who have HIV do not even know they have the virus. The following are symptoms of HIV:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Rash
  • Muscle aches
  • Mouth ulcers

The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. If you suspect you may have HIV, it is important to be tested right away, to ensure you don’t pass it on.

Can You Get HIV But Not Get AIDS?

Yes. The only way to develop AIDS is to contract HIV. But, many people who are infected with HIV never develop AIDS. HIV has three stages. Acute, which is the first few weeks after infection. Clinical latency, which is the chronic stage. And AIDS, which is the last stage. The rate at which HIV progresses through the 3 stages varies person to person. With treatment, antiretroviral therapy, you can live a long life at the chronic stage, without ever developing AIDS. Without treatment, HIV can advance to AIDS within a decade.

Can HIV be cured?

There is currently no cure for HIV. However, through early treatment and ART (antiretroviral therapy), it can be managed. Many with HIV are able to live long lives.

Can AIDS be cured?

There is no cure for AIDS.

If you suspect you may have HIV, it is important to get tested as soon as possible. For more information on HIV and other STDs, visit our Types of Common STIs and STDs page.

At besafemeds, we provide discreet online STD treatment. Fill out our online diagnostic form to be contacted by a licensed doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss your symptoms and receive a diagnosis.

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