What is HIV?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life. HIV attacks the immune system.
What is AIDS?
AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection--when the body can no long defend itself against mild or even rare diseases.
How can HIV/AIDS be spread?
Only certain body fluids—blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk—from a person who has HIV or AIDS can transmit HIV or AIDS. These fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the bloodstream (from a needle or syringe) for transmission to occur. Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, vagina, penis, and mouth.
How can I prevent the spread of HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
Use 100% latex condoms (natural condoms may still allow the transmisson of the virus), reduce your number of sexual partners, stay away from high-risk behaviors, talk to your doctor about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and get tested regularly.
Can using a lubricant lower my risk?
Yes, water-based lubricants are safe to use on latex condoms. Oil-based products (oil-based lubes, Vaseline, lotions, etc.) can weaken the condom and cause it to break.
How do I know if I have HIV?
Many people do not have any symptoms at all. The only way to know for sure is to get TESTED! We here at LINQ for Life have trained individuals in place to offer a variety of options to our clients.
If I am diagnosed with HIV or AIDS what should I do?
First off know that HIV and AIDS are no longer death sentences. Strides are being made to ensure that people living with HIV and AIDS can live long healthy lives. With that being said, don't panic, talk to your doctor about PEP and other treatments, and practice safe behaviors. LINQ for Life is here to point you in the right direction no matter what your health needs may be.