Questions & Answers about HIV/AIDS

We know sometimes it’s hard to ask questions about HIV / AIDS, often the search for answers is very long and the answer found is something complicated, but we here to help so you have the information you need.

Just click on each question to explore the answers we have to common questions we have been asked, remember we are here to help you. We hope our platform helpful for you. Feel free to share what you learn!

What Is HIV?

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infects cells of the immune system and destroys or disrupts their functioning, which leads to progressive deterioration of the system and ends up producing an immune deficiency. There is talk of immunodeficiency when the immune system can no longer fulfill its role of fighting off infections and other diseases. Infections that accompany severe immunodeficiency are called “opportunistic” because the pathogens causing exploit the weakness of the immune system.

What is AIDS?

AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is the most advanced stages of HIV infection. It is defined by the appearance of one of more than twenty opportunistic infections or HIV-associated cancers.

How is HIV Transmitted?

It can be transmitted by sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal or oral) without protection with an infected person; by transfusion of contaminated blood; and by sharing needles, syringes or other sharp objects. The mother can transmit the infection to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

How many people are infected with HIV?

According to estimates by WHO and UNAIDS, at the end of 2014 there were in the world about 36.9 million people infected with HIV. That same year, became infected about 2 million people, and about 1.2 million died of AIDS-related causes.

How soon does AIDS appear once someone is infected with HIV?

This period can vary greatly from one person to another. If not treated, most HIV-positive people show signs of disease after 5-10 years, although the period can be shorter. The time between infection with HIV and AIDS diagnosis can vary between 10 and 15 years, sometimes more. ARV therapy can slow evolution because it prevents the virus from multiplying and therefore decreases the amount of blood present in the infected individual (called “viral load”) virus.

Can I reduce my risk of infection in my sex life?

  1. Every time you have sex, use protective barriers. For example: male or female condoms, dental dams, and latex gloves.

  2. Refrain from unprotected sexual intercourse. Know your STI/STD status if you are active.

  3. People with multiple sexual partners may be at higher risk. It is helpful and important to be aware of the status of all partners, and/or use barriers,  as well as limiting other risk behaviors.

What about condoms?! Do condoms prevent HIV?

If used correctly in each act of intercourse, the condom is a method proven to prevent HIV infection across all genders. However, apart from abstinence, no protective method is totally 100% effective.

What is a “female condom”?

The female condom is the only barrier contraceptive specifically made for people with vaginas currently on the market. It is a transparent sheath, resistant and soft polyurethane that is inserted into the vagina before intercourse. Completely coated the vaginal cavity and protects against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, particularly those caused by HIV, when used correctly in each act of intercourse.

Male Circumcision and HIV Prevention?

Male circumcision (ie. circumcising the penis) has been shown to reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV between women and men by 60%. Since 2007, WHO and UNAIDS have recommended voluntary medical circumcision as an important additional strategy to prevent new HIV infections in places with a currently large HIV positive population, and where male circumcision is rare. Fourteen countries in eastern and southern Africa meet these criteria have initiated programs to expand male circumcision.

Male circumcision, for medical reasons, is an intervention that provides partial protection for life against sexually transmitted infections, especially caused by HIV. Always it has to be considered as part of a comprehensive set of preventive measures and should never replace other known methods, such as using condoms and other barriers.

Is there a cure for HIV infection?

No, there is no cure for HIV infection. But one ARV (antiretroviral treatment) therapy, followed exactly as directed, slows the progression of the infection to almost stop. More and more people infected with HIV, even in poor countries, can remain in good condition and continue a productive life a long time.

Tell me more about HIV Testing!

A couple reasons why to get tested-

Knowing your status with regard to HIV can have two important effects:

  1. If you find out that you are infected by the virus, you can take steps before symptoms appear for treatment, care and support, which can prolong life and prevent medical complications for many years.

  2. If it turns out that you are infected, you can take precautions to prevent transmission of HIV to others.

When should I get tested for HIV antibodies?

It is recommended in the following situations:

  1. They have had risky behavior. The test should be done once past the window period (from 6-8 weeks after risky practice).

  2. When a new relationship starts (since it can pose a risk practice).

  3. If you want to have a child or are pregnant, to put in the appropriate means to prevent vertical transmission.

It is mandatory for donating blood, organs, semen, tissue or eggs.

Where can I get tested?

Click  here to check out our HIV Testing Map! 

You have the right to Confidentiality.

Given the result of an analytical detection antibodies, I have the right to confidentiality?

Yes, the results, positive or negative, should always be confidential. This confidentiality must guarantee the privacy of the person being tested, this person has the right to demand appropriate professional secrecy for all those involved in the process.

Where can I get PrEP or PEP?

If you need to find PrEP and PEP in NYC, click here.

Tell me more about current ARV therapy

ARV stands for Antiretroviral Treatment.

At the end of 2014, 14.9 million people were receiving antiretroviral treatment worldwide. Until 2003, the high cost of medicines, weak or inadequate health infrastructure and the lack of money prevented the widespread use of treatment with a combination of these drugs in these countries. In recent years, increased political and financial decision has led to a dramatic expansion of access to treatment.

Can I stop taking any doses of medication?

Should be avoided if possible stop taking any prescribed dose of antiretrovirals. The virus takes advantage of any loophole to increase their replication and become resistant to treatment. The doctor who will prescribe you appropriate for your particular case dose. You remember that the success of treatment depends largely on proper compliance.

However if you miss a dose, do not accumulate in the next shot.

What are the CD4 + lymphocytes and viral load?

The CD4 + lymphocytes are a variety of T4 + lymphocytes. T cells are the basic cells of the body defense system.

These cells are the primary target of the attack of the virus. The normal number in an uninfected person is between 1000 and 1500, although figures between 500 and 1000 can be seen with relative frequency among uninfected individuals to behave without risk of opportunistic infections CD4 + lymphocytes / mm3 of blood.

Viral load is the amount of virus circulating in the blood. It tells us what is the degree of activity of the virus in the body. Both parameters are used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment and prognosis of infection.