What is HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus may be passed from one person to another when infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions come in contact with an uninfected person’s broken skin or mucous membranes*. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Some of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.

What causes AIDS?

AIDS is caused by infection with a virus called human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood and sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Some of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.

What are the symptoms of HIV?

People newly infected with HIV will experience some “flu-like” symptoms. These symptoms, which usually last no more than a few days, might include fevers, chills, night sweats and rashes

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV can be transmitted from an infected person to another through: Blood, Semen, Vaginal secretions and Breast milk The following “bodily fluids” are NOT infectious: Saliva, Tears, Sweat, Feces, Urine

How long after exposure should I be tested for HIV?

The time it takes for a person who has been infected with HIV to test positive for HIV antibodies is called the “Window Period”. When a person is infected with the HIV virus they develop antibodies within 12 weeks (3-months).

So, What about condoms?

Not a question you ask your partner about? Maybe you should.

It can be difficult to talk about using condoms. But you shouldn’t let embarrassment become a health risk. The person you are thinking about having sex with may not agree at first when you say that you want to use a condom when you have sex.

What are the reasons to use a condom?

  1. Condoms are the only contraceptive that also helps prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) including HIV when used properly and consistently.
  2. Condoms are one of the most reliable methods of birth control when use properly and consistently.
  3. Condoms have none of the medical side-effects of some other birth control methods may have.
  4. Condoms are available in various shapes, colors, flavors, textures and sizes – to increase the fun of making love with condoms.
  5. Condoms are widely available in pharmacies, supermarkets and convenience stores. You don’t need a prescription or have to visit a doctor.
  6. Condoms make sex less messy.
  7. Condoms are user friendly. With a little practice, they can also add confidence to the enjoyment of sex.
  8. Condoms are only needed when you are having sex unlike some other contraceptives which require you to take or have them all of the time.