HIV/Aids

Ann Marie Piekielniak

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Unlike other common viruses, your immune system can't get rid of HIV. Once you get it you have it for life. You can HIV for long periods of time without knowing it. This virus destroys your immune system. HIV itself doesn't kill you. You die from getting sick with a weak immune system. AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Aids is the final stage of HIV infection. Not everyone who has HIV gets Aids.

You can get HIV and AIDS from injected drugs, sexual contact, childbirth, breast feeding,  your job's exposure, blood transfusion, or organ transplant. So in more general terms you get this virus from body fluids. The fluid must get into your bloodstream.

Two to four weeks after receiving the HIV virus most people experience flu like symptoms. HIV/Aids symptoms are fever(most common), swollen glands, sore throat, rash, fatigue, muscle/joint pain, and headaches.

                 Initial Infection

0-5 years

                Asymptomatic Infection

5-10 years

                Symptomatic Infection

10-20 years

                 AIDS

More than 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV. 35 million people worldwide have it. 3.2 million kids under 15 have it.

One myth about HIV and Aids is that it is contagious through air. You cannot gets HIV by being near someone with the virus. Another misconception is that you can get HIV through mosquitos.

We, as Catholics, should treat people with HIV no differently than anyone else. They are equal to everyone else.

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