Aids Essay

10018 WordsSep 11, 201241 Pages
Aids intro-HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus, AIDS) In this factsheet: * The Facts on HIV/AIDS * Causes of HIV/AIDS * Symptoms and Complications of HIV/AIDS * Diagnosing HIV/AIDS * Treating and Preventing HIV/AIDS The Facts on HIV/AIDS AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) was first recognized in North America in the early 1980s. It is caused by a virus known as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). HIV infection has become a worldwide epidemic. About 33 million people are currently infected with the virus. In North America, the virus has infected nearly a million people and killed almost half a million people to date. At the end of 2005, about 58,000 people in Canada had been infected with HIV, and of these, an estimated 15,000 (or 27%) were unaware of their infection. HIV is more common among certain populations at risk, such as people who inject illicit drugs, and bisexual and gay men. HIV infections are also increasing among women, Aboriginal peoples, and African and Caribbean communities. Causes of HIV/AIDS The virus can be found in the blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk of infected people. HIV is also found in saliva, sweat, and tears, though not in high enough amounts to transmit the virus to another person. There are no known cases of anyone catching HIV through sneezing, shaking hands, or from toilet seats or mosquito bites. The two most common ways to be infected with HIV in North America are through unprotected sex and sharing needles. HIV may be transmitted through unprotected heterosexual or homosexual, vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Although the risk of infection is lower with oral sex, it is still important to use protection during oral sex, such as a dental dam (a piece of latex to cover the vagina during oral sex) or a condom. HIV can also be passed on through perinatal infection, where mothers who

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