hiv_cross What is HIV?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus attacks and breaks down the body’s immune system, “the “internal defense force” that fights off infections and disease.

But once HIV gets into the body, it can do serious damage to the immune system.

When the immune system becomes weak, we lose our protection against illness and can develop serious, often life-threatening, infections and cancers.

Keep in mind:
HIV can enter the body through a vein (by IV drug use), the rectum, vagina, penis or mouth (during unprotected sex), or through other mucous membranes (like the eyes or inside of the nose), even open cuts or sores.
 
  HIV: The facts and some statistics:
  • HIV doesn’t discriminate. Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Indians, Latinos, Whites, gays, straight, male, female or transgenders can become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
  • It is not who you are but what you do that puts you at risk for getting HIV.
  • HIV is found in sufficient amounts in four bodily fluids: blood, cum/pre-cum, breast milk and vaginal fluids.
  • HIV cannot be transmitted through tears, sweat, feces, urine and saliva. However, if blood is present in any of these fluids transmission can occur.
  • HIV medications when taken as prescribed can lengthen the lives of people with HIV/AIDS, but there’s no cure for HIV.
  • Every hour of every day in the United States, two young people contract HIV.
  More statistics:
  • Over 60 million people worldwide have been infected with HIV/AIDS. AIDS has claimed the lives of approximately 20 million people.
  • In United States it is estimated that over 40,000 new HIV infections occur each year.
  • As many as one-third of people living with HIV do not know they are infected.
  • Since the beginning of the AIDS Epidemic in the U.S., it is estimated that 630,757 deaths have occurred through 2005 among people with AIDS.
  • More people are living with AIDS in the U.S. than ever before.
  • Florida Ranks third in nation in the number of persons living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Approximately 125,000 people, roughly 11% of the national total, currently live with HIV/AIDS in Florida.
  • Nearly half (43%) of all people with HIV/AIDS in Florida reside in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
  HIV and AIDS cases data through 2006
  • Through 2006, 26,640 AIDS cases were reported from Miami-Dade County.
  • Through 2005, 15,552 AIDS cases were reported from Broward County.
  • In 2005, Miami-Dade had the highest AIDS case rate (per 100,000 population) reported in the nation (52.8), followed by Fort Lauderdale (45.8) and New York (45.4).
  • An estimated 20-35% of Miami-Dade’s population is without health insurance.
  • Nearly one percent of the Miami-Dade population lives with HIV or AIDS.
  • Having unprotected sex with men remains a high risk factor.
  • Of the newly reported HIV cases among men in 2006, 68% in Miami and 70% in Ft. Lauderdale were among MSM.
  • Nationwide, MSM represent the largest proportion of new reported HIV cases reported in 2005 (49%), followed by heterosexuals (32%) and injection drug users (14%).
  • In the U.S., 73% of all AIDS cases and 49% of all HIV cases reported in 2005 were among men.
  • Hispanics make up the highest percentage (37%) of people living with HIV/AIDS in Miami-Dade County in 2006.
   

   
  What is AIDS?
AIDS stand for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, the condition that people with HIV have if they develop one of the serious infections connected with HIV, or if blood tests show that their immune system has been very badly damaged by the virus.

It usually takes many years before HIV breaks down a person’s immune system and causes AIDS. Not everyone will progress to AIDS. Most people have few, if any, symptoms for several years after they are infected.

Keep in mind:
There are many people who appear perfectly healthy that may have the virus and without knowing it, pass it on to others. The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.
     
 
     
  How can I get HIV?
An uninfected person can get HIV if blood, cum/pre-cum, vaginal fluid, or breast milk from an infected person enters their body and gets into their bloodstream.
     
 
     
  How is HIV is transmitted from one person to another?
The 3 ways are:
  1. By having sex, particularly unprotected sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with an HIV-infected person
  2. By sharing needles with an intravenous (IV) drug user who is infected with HIV
  3. From HIV-infected women to babies during pregnancy, during birth, or through breast-feeding after birth