Understanding HIV and AIDS

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Can a person be exposed to HIV by kissing the cheek of an infected person?

No, because sweat does not contain the virus

If a teen boy is sexually active and thinks he may have been exposed to HIV, what is the most effective way of handling the situation?

He should be tested for the virus. However, a test is not effective until six weeks or more after exposure. If he knows when he may have been exposed, he should get tested six weeks after the exposure date. If he is not sure when he was exposed, he should be tested right away to ensure the earliest treatment if infected. Since he doesn’t know when he might have been exposed, the first test may not be reliable because the body may not yet be making antibodies against HIV. If the results are negative on the first test, it is best to get a second test after some time has passed in order to be completely sure that he has not been infected. He should abstain from any kind of sexual contact until it has been established that he is 100% HIV-free.

Which of the following is NOT a common opportunistic infection?


When does treatment of HIV typically begin?

Treatment is dependent upon the progression of the disease. Current US guidelines recommend that HIV treatment begin when CD4+ cell count is between 350 and 500. Treatment will also begin when opportunistic diseases begin to develop.

What is used to treat HIV/AIDS?

Antiretroviral medications

What are CD4+ cells?

Immune cells that are destroyed by HIV

How can HIV/AIDS be transmitted from one person to another without having any form of sexual contact, and why?

Blood contains the highest concentrations of the virus, so medical procedures involving blood, like blood transfusions, can transmit the virus; however, this is rare in the US. Getting a tattoo or a piercing can also transmit the virus if the needles are not properly cleaned; this is also very rare. Sharing needles for intravenous drugs will transmit the virus. Since breast milk also contains the virus, a mother can pass the virus to a nursing baby. She can also transmit the virus during pregnancy or during birth. Medications are available to lessen the chances of this kind of transmission happening.

When does AIDS occur? What are some of the common signs that the infection has progressed to AIDS?

After HIV has caused such a reduction in immune cells that the body can no longer fight off illness, a person will be diagnosed with AIDS. Common signs of AIDS are opportunistic infections, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, pneumonia, candida, and eye infections. Severe weight loss, brain tumors, night sweats, chronic diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes, severe shaking from chills, and high fever are also some of the most common symptoms.

A person infected with HIV/AIDS is generally too sick to ever lead a normal life again.


What is the body’s initial reaction to the HIV virus?

The body tries to fight the virus by creating special antibodies that target the virus.

Which bacterial STI causes more complications in women than in men?


AIDS occurs when HIV destroys the immune system.


Which of the following is a TRUE statement about curing STIs?

Many STIs can be cured with proper treatment, but some can only be managed.

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