Educate Yourself! - HIV/AIDS & Other Epidemics
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections, which take advantage of the weakened immune system.
Infection with HIV occurs by the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate, or breast milk. Within these bodily fluids, HIV is present as both free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells.
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a late stage of HIV infection. An HIV positive person is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system is so weakened that it is no longer able to fight off illness. People with immune deficiency are much more vulnerable to infections such as pneumonia and various forms of cancer. Ultimately, people do not die from AIDS itself, they die from one or more of these opportunistic infections. It is believed that all people who become HIV+ will eventually have AIDS.
It can take several years before HIV breaks down a person's immune system and causes AIDS, and people may show few symptoms for several years after they are infected. People who appear perfectly healthy may not know they have the virus and can pass it on to others. 1 out of 4 Americans with HIV do not know they have the virus. The only way to know if you have HIV is to GET TESTED.
- According to the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance, there are an estimated 1,300 cumulative HIV/ AIDS diagnosis in Ventura County. The organization estimates that one-in-three HIV+ people do not know their sero-status, placing the estimated number of actual infected at more than 1,700 people
- .The Ventura County Rainbow Alliance also stated that nearly one-in-three of homeless people in Ventura County tested positive for hepatitis C virus.
Visit http://lgbtventura.org/index.php for more information on AIDS and other epidemics in Ventura County.
- Kaiser Family Foundation states the following on the United States AIDS epidemic:
Number of new HIV infections each year: 40,000
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.2 million, including more than 400,000 with AIDS
Number of deaths among people with AIDS in 2005: 17,011
Percent of people with HIV/AIDS not in care: 42%-59%
Percent of people infected with HIV who don’t know it: 25%
Visit http://www.kff.org/hivaids/upload/3029-071.pdf for more information on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.
- The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention is calling Sexually Trasmitted Diseases (STDs) one of the most under-recognized health problems
in the country today. In the United States, more than 65 million people are currently living with an incurable sexually transmitted disease (std). An additional 15 million people become infected with one or more stds each year, roughly half of whom contract lifelong infections (Cates, 1999).
For more information on STDs within the United States, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/dstd/Stats_Trends/Trends2000.pdf.
- The World Health Organization estimates that between 35 and 42 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.
- The highest estimates for people living with HIV/AIDS are in:
Sub-Saharan Africa (apporx. 25 million)
South and South-East Asia (6.5 million)
Latin America (around 1.6 million)
Eastern Europe and Central Asia (around 1.3 million)
Visit http://www.emro.who.int/asd/events-wac-2004-statistics.htm for more information on HIV/AIDS throughout the world.