Youth HIV/AIDs awareness day is April 10, 2017. Knowing your status is an important part of keeping yourself healthy.
- 5 million youth are currently living with HIV/AIDs in the world.
- In the U.S. more than 1.5million people are living with the virus.
- 1 in 8 people don’t even know they have it.
- Every 30 seconds another young person is infected with the virus.
What is HIV/AIDS?
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks your immune system not allowing it to fight off germs if you get sick. If untreated, HIV can worsen and turn into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Symptoms of HIV include feeling tired all the time, running a fever, muscle aches, night sweats and sores in your mouth. These are also symptoms of many other illnesses too. If you experience any of these be sure to talk to your provider to figure out what’s going on.
Who’s at Risk?
Anyone who is sexually active or has regular needle exposure (typically dirty needles from drug use) is at risk for HIV. The virus is only spread through blood, semen, vaginal and rectal fluids and breast milk. Babies can also get HIV is there mother has it already. HIV is not transmitted from kissing, hugging or cuddling with someone who is infected. Those at highest risk are gay men, African Americans and those who use needles to inject drugs. Men who are not circumcised also have a higher risk of getting and transmitting HIV.
How Can I Prevent Getting HIV/AIDs?
There is no vaccine to prevent you from getting HIV. The best way is to prevent getting HIV is to abstain from sex. If you are sexually active be sure to use a lubricated condom (male or female) with all sexual encounters with a partner whose HIV status you don’t know. Avoid having sex with multiple partners. If your partner has HIV talk to your provider about PreP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). This medication can decrease your risk of acquiring HIV from your partner.
The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested, so what are you waiting for?
To learn more about HIV/AIDs, hear stories from those living with the virus or to find out where to get tested click the links below:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Acting Against AIDS
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – HIV Risk