HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks your body’s defence against disease and illness by infecting the very cells which would normally fight off infection. Anyone can be infected with HIV. You can have HIV without knowing it. You may not look or feel sick for years, but you can still pass the virus on to other people. Without treatment, HIV can progress and cause Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), the most advanced stage of infection.
AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is a clinical diagnosis that indicates the most advanced stage of an HIV infection. At this point your immune system becomes too weak to fight off serious illnesses and can lead to life-threatening infections.
HIV is passed from one person to another through 5 body fluids:
2. semen (including pre-cum)
3. rectal fluid
4. vaginal fluid
5. breast milk
An infection happens when one of these fluids that contain HIV enters the bloodstream through broken skin or the wet linings of the body (vagina, rectum, foreskin). HIV cannot pass through healthy, unbroken skin. It is not passed by hugging, kissing, toilet seats or insects. The most common ways HIV is passed from one person to another are:
- through sex
- by sharing injection equiptment
It can also be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.
Hepatitis C Basics
Hepatitis C is a virus that attacks your liver. You can live with hepatitis C for 20 to 30 years or more without feeling sick even though the virus is injuring the liver, making it hard for it to work properly. The liver is a very important organ in your body that you cannot live without.
Hepatitis C is spread when the blood of a person with hepatitis C comes in contact with the bloodstream of someone else. This can happen through breaks in the skin or in the lining of the nose and mouth. Hepatitis C is a strong virus and can survive outside of the body for many days. This means dried blood can also pass the virus.