More About HIV

HIV stands for human immune deficiency virus. It is the virus that causes AIDS. You can have it for many years without feeling or looking sick. Even if you don’t know you have it you can still pass the virus on to others.

Over time HIV damages the immune system. The immune system protects the body from disease. When the immune system gets very weak, other diseases and infections can enter the body. This stage of HIV is called AIDS.

How do people get HIV?

HIV lives in semen, vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk of people with HIV. You can get HIV when infected fluids pass from one person to another. 

HIV can be passed:

  • during vaginal, oral or anal sex
  • by sharing needles and equipment to inject drugs
  • by needles used for tattoos and piercing or to inject vitamins or steroids
  • from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding
  • from needle-stick injuries to health workers caring for people with HIV

HIV is not passed by:

  • donating blood
  • hugging, kissing or sharing food
  • telephones, toilet seats, towels or eating utensils
  • tears, saliva, sweat or urine
  • mosquitoes or other insects

You are at risk if you:

  • have sex with someone who has had other partners
  • share needles or have sex with someone who does

Phone: 734.484.3600 | Fax: 734.484.3100
Alternative and MIHP Fax: 734.829.0137

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