HIV is spread through contact with blood, vaginal fluids, semen and breastmilk. Vaginal/anal/oral sexual contact, injection drug use (sharing needles), getting body piercings/tatoos with used equipment, during pregnancy/childbirth, breastfeeding and occupational exposure are the most common ways HIV is passed from one person to another.
Casual contact will not spread HIV. HIV cannot be spread by shaking hands, hugging, using the same toilet, using the same water fountain or using the same telephone.
HIV stands for the HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIECY VIRUS. HIV cannot be spread by mosquitos, rats, roaches, monkeys or snakes. HIV is a virus only able to live in the human body. Only humans may pass HIV from one person to another.
HIV lives in the cells of your body and attacks a key part of your immune system – our T-cells or CD4 cells. Our bodies have to have these cells to fight infections and disease. If someone become infected with HIV (is HIV positive), HIV invades the CD4 cells, uses them to make more copies of itself, and then destroys them.
Over time, HIV can destroy so many of your CD4 cells that the body can't fight infections and diseases anymore. When that happens, HIV infection can lead to AIDS, the final stage of HIV infection.
While there are some people who exhibit "symptoms" of being infected with HIV (HIV positive), most do not. During the earlier stages of HIV infection, most people have no symptoms and do not look or feel sick. During this time they can still infect others with HIV. There are cases of persons having HIV who do not show any signs of infection even after being diagnosed with advanced HIV...AIDS.
THERE IS NO LOOK TO HIV! The only way to know your status or that of your partner is to GET TESTED.
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