AIDS / HIV Awareness

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Since the first cases of AIDS were recorded in the US in 1981, more than a half million Americans have died of the disease. Today, AIDS/HIV transmission rates have slowed.

That’s good news.

Though around the world AIDS is one of the fastest spreading diseases, it is also the most preventable.

What is HIV?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is passed from one person to another through these bodily fluids:

  • blood
  • semen
  • vaginal secretions
  • breast milk
  • cerebrospinal fluid
  • synovial fluid
  • amniotic fluid
  • any other fluid containing blood

What is AIDS?

AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. A diagnosis of AIDS is made by a physician using certain clinical criteria. Just because a person has HIV does not mean they have AIDS.

How Have Antiretroviral Drugs Helped Those with AIDS Survive Long Term?

Since AIDS was first reported in 1981, through 1986, San Francisco public health statistics reported a median survival rate of ten months after diagnosis. Since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in 1996, mortality rates have decreased and survival of AIDS patients has been prolonged. Today, after an AIDS diagnosis, survival rates of 5, 10 or even 20 years is not uncommon.

How do people with AIDS die?

HIV can weaken the immune system to the point that it can no longer fight off infection. Often when people ‘die of AIDS’ they actually die of an infection that the body and medication was unable to control.

Wellness Resources

For questions about HIV/AIDS, contact your physician.
For help coping with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis, contact Bon Secours Employee Assistance Program at 757-398-2374 or 1-800-EAP-3257.