What is HIV/AIDS?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
HIV affects specific cells in your immune system (the part of your body that keeps you from getting sick), and it can eventually destroy enough cells that your body can no longer defend you against diseases or infections. Once this happens, HIV leads to AIDS.
As of 2009, 1.1 million people in the United States were living with HIV/AIDS, but about 18% of them did not know they were infected. Young people and African Americans have a much higher risk of infection.
How do I know if I have it?
The only way to know for sure if you are infected with HIV is to get tested. Many people, who are infected with HIV, do not report any symptoms for 10 years or more. While some people do report having flu-like symptoms (as well as enlarged lymph nodes, rash, sore throat, or fever), this can also be a result of another illness.
If you think you may be infected, it’s important to get tested by a doctor. Use the Fact Not Fiction health center locator below to find a location near you.
Can it be cured or treated?
While there is therapy that lengthens the lives of many people, the Center for Disease Control says, “For most people, the answer is no.” While scientists are working hard to find a cure, no safe and effective cure currently exists. For that reason, it is extremely important that people who think they may be infected get tested.
Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing heterosexual sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
If you need to get tested, visit our website for help locating a Mississippi clinic near you: https://www.factnotfiction.com/clinic-finder
To learn more about HIV/AIDS, visit the CDC for more information: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/whatishiv.html and https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/oralsex.htm