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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

What is HIV?

A member of the human retrovirus family, affecting the immune system that can lead to AIDS. (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)

How common is HIV in Teens?

An estimated 650,000 to 900,000 Americans are living with HIV (3,851 are between the ages of 13 and 19).

How many teens get it?

An estimated 650,000 to 900,000 Americans are living with HIV (3,851 are between the ages of 13 and 19).

What are the symptoms of HIV?

There might be flu-like symptoms immediately after an initial infection but not always. Symptoms of HIV/AIDS are very similar to other diseases. The current average incubation period from the time of infection with HIV to an AIDS diagnosis is eight to 11 years. People might not know they are infected unless an HIV antibody test is done.

How is it spread?

HIV is spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone infected; through sharing needles/or syringes during drug use with someone infected; or very rarely through transfusions of infected blood. Babies born to mothers with HIV might become infected before birth, during birth or through breastfeeding. Health care workers can be infected after a stick with needles containing HIV infected blood or less frequently, after infected blood comes into contact with a worker's open cuts or splashes into a mucous membrane, e.g., eyes or inside of nose.

What is the treatment for HIV?

A range of treatment possibilities is available for people living with HIV/AIDS. There is no known cure at this time. Research all over the world is being conducted in an attempt to find more effective drugs to target HIV directly and to treat the illnesses that people with AIDS can experience. Strategies are being sought to boost the immune system and to help delay disease progression.

Consequences of HIV?

Serious health complications may develop as a result of having an impaired immune system that cannot fight diseases. If a person is unaware he or she is infected that person may unknowingly infect his or her sexual partner / partners. It is possible for people to die because of AIDS-related complications.