HIV, AIDS, Transmission, and Common Questions.
WHAT IS HIV?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. Over 4,000 women are living with diagnosed HIV in Ontario.
Once HIV enters the body, it can begin to weaken the immune system; however, with advances in HIV treatment, people can live long and healthy lives with HIV. Without thoughtful HIV treatment, a person's immune system can become weaker, and they can become sick from various infections, often referred to as "opportunistic infections."
There is no known cure for HIV; however, with advances in science and thoughtful HIV care, HIV can be managed like any other chronic illness and most people with HIV stay healthy.
WHAT IS AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
If HIV is not diagnosed and treated, the immune system generally becomes weaker over time. Eventually, a person with HIV can become sick with a life-threatening infection (known as an opportunistic infection), leading to an AIDS diagnosis. In other words, an AIDS diagnosis requires two things:
1) the presence of HIV in the body
2) an opportunistic infection
HOW IS HIV TRANSMITTED?
HIV is transmitted when an adequate amount of HIV from an HIV-positive person gets into an HIV-negative person’s body. Only five body fluids can contain enough HIV to infect someone else:
CENTRING WOMEN’S EXPERIENCES
“A person who is living with HIV is a person like anyone else, and has the right to share love, the right to love, to be loved, to be sexual with someone who loves them.”
— Woman living with HIV