HIV Aids

Learn About this Sexually Transmitted Infection


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HIV/AIDS is a very serious viral infection that compromises the immune system and eventually renders the body unable to fight infections (Health Canada, 2010). It is the sixth leading cause of death in the US for people between 25-44 years of age (A.D.A.M. Inc, 2012) and the virus was first detected in Canada around 1987 and since then has continued to affect thousands of Canadians each year. The virus begins as HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus. Over a period of years the disease can develop to the later stages where a person is unable to fight even the smallest infection. This stage is referred to as AIDS, short for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012). For many, untreated HIV will develop into AIDS within 10 years and complications such as hepatitis, toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis, or liver/kidney damage can also occur (Healio, 2012).

How Can I Get HIV Aids?

HIV is transmitted primarily through blood and bodily fluid and has been found in saliva, tears, blood, semen, spinal fluid, nervous system tissue, vaginal fluid, and breast milk (A.D.A.M. Inc, 2012). You can be at risk of contracting HIV by being in contact with infected blood, having unprotected sex with an infected person, sharing injection drug paraphernalia, using infected blood products, and from mother to child (Avert, 2011). Some other potential, although lower risk ways, to contract the disease can also include unprotected oral sex; kissing an infected individual who has cuts or mouth sores; reused equipment in tattooing, piercing, electrolysis

HIV Aids Facts


Get tested and stop the spread of HIV

While there are continuing efforts to develop an effective vaccine for HIV/AIDS, other prevention methods should still be practiced. To protect yourself against the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, you can

  • Follow safe sex practices by always using condoms (Avert, 2011)
  • Refrain from any sexual contact that involves blood or sexual fluids (Avert, 2011)
  • Refraining from sharing drug paraphernalia (Avert, 2011)
  • Ensure all tattoo, piercing, electrolysis, or acupuncture is performed by the appropriate professionals who follow the universal infection-control procedures (Health Canada, 2010)
  • If pregnant and carrying the virus, speaking to your doctor about the appropriate treatments to ensure the virus is not passed through breastfeeding to the infant (Avert, 2011)
  • Ensure all toys that come in contact with any blood or sexual fluids are appropriately cleaned or disposed of

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Written November 7, 2012 | Updated May 1, 2015
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Article References

A.D.A.M. Inc. (2012). AIDS. Retrieved 11 07, 2012, from PubMed Health:

Avert. (2011). HIV. Retrieved 11 07, 2012, from International HIV & AIDS Charity:

Healio. (2012). What is HIV? Retrieved 11 07, 2012, from Healio Education Lab:

Health Canada. (2010, 11 02). HIV/AIDS. Retrieved 11 07, 2012, from Health Canada:

MedicineNet. (2012). Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Retrieved 11 07, 2012, from

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2012, 10 29). HIV/AIDS. Retrieved 11 07, 2012, from MedlinePlus:

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