Metro in the know
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that is spread through bodily fluids that affects and kills specific immune system cells, called T cells or CD4 cells. HIV can be spread by unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who is living with HIV, by blood to blood contact, and through mother to child transmission (childbirth or breastfeeding). HIV replicates inside of the body and cannot live outside of the human body.
A person is considered to have AIDS once the amount of T-Cells/CD4 Cells equal less than 200. AIDS is a late stage of the HIV infection and causes the body to have a hard time fighting off disease and certain cancers. HIV/AIDS is not curable, but it can be treated.
Approximately 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today. The youth population, those aged 13-24, have the highest rates of new diagnoses. Many people who have HIV are unaware of their status since many people do not have any symptoms of the disease. 1 in 7 people living with HIV are unaware of their infection. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men bear the greatest burden by risk group, representing an estimated 26,000 of new HIV infections per year.
HIV is only spread through semen, vaginal fluids, rectal fluid, blood, and breast milk. HIV is NOT spread by kissing, touching/casual contact, breathing the same air, sharing drinks and utensils, toilet seats, or water fountains.