What is HIV?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus. Viruses such as HIV cannot grow or reproduce on their own, they need to infect the cells of a living organism in order to replicate (make new copies of themselves). The human immune system usually finds and kills viruses fairly quickly, but HIV attacks the immune system itself – the very thing that would normally get rid of a virus.

What is the link between HIV and AIDS?

The condition known as AIDS is caused when HIV kills so many immune system cells that the body is no longer able to protect itself from anything. At that point, even the most simple flu can prove deadly to many.

How is HIV contracted?

HIV can be contracted:
• Through semen and pre-seminal fluid
• Through vaginal fluid
• Through breast milk
• Through blood

What are the most common ways people contract HIV?

Having unprotected sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with someone who is infected with HIV. By sharing needles or equipment with a person who is infected with HIV. From infected mother to child, through the womb or by feeding the child breast milk.

How is HIV treated?

While there is no cure for HIV, antiretroviral drugs can be use to keep the levels of HIV in the body at a low level, so that the immune system is able to recover and work effectively. Antiretroviral drugs enable many HIV positive people to live long and healthy lives.

What is Hepatitis C ( also known as Hep C or HCV)?

Hepatitis C is a virus that causes inflammation in the liver.

How is Hepatitis C spread?

Hepatitis C can be contracted through the blood of someone infected with HCV. Having a mother who had HCV when she gave birth to you. Although rarely, through unprotected sex.

How is Hepatitis C treated?

Treatment for Hepatitis C is determined by many factors, including how ling you’ve had the condition, how damaged your live is, and what type of Hepatitis C you have. The best plan of action can only be determined by your doctor.

How do I know if I have HIV or Hepatitis C?

The only way to know for sure if you have HIV or Hepatitis C is to speak to a doctor and get tested. While these conditions are deadly and life changing they are so very subtle. Many people go years without knowing that they are living with these conditions and will unknowingly spread the virus.