Back to Library
AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV (Human
Immunodeficiency Virus)When a person is infected with HIV, the virus infects and
can kill certain cells in the immune system called T-helper cells.
This weakens the immune system so that other opportunistic infections can
The HIV-infected person is said to have AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency
Syndrome) when they become sick with other specific infections or when the
number of T-helper cells has dropped below 200.
People at highest risk of AIDS and HIV infection are:
•People who share needles
•Men who have sex with other men
•Babies born to mothers who have HIV infection
•People who received blood transfusions or blood products before 1985
•Anyone who has sex with anyone who has or is at risk for AIDS or HIV
•HIV is in blood and other body fluids
The virus is in the blood, semen, menstrual blood, vaginal secretions, and
breast milk of HIV infected persons. The virus can be there even if the person
has no symptoms of HIV-infection or AIDS. People who are infected with HIV will
carry (and be able to pass on) the virus for the rest of their lives.
HIV is spread by exposure to HIV infected blood and HIV infected body fluids
HIV can be spread during sex, by sharing needles to inject drugs, or from
mother to baby (before or during birth, or by breast feeding).
HIV is rarely spread by getting stuck by a used needle, or by getting blood or
other infected body fluids onto a mouth, eyes, or broken skin.
The virus is not spread by casual contact like living in the same household, or
working with a person who carries HIV.
Certain symptoms and conditions may be associated with HIV/AIDS
These symptoms and conditions may include: fever, weight loss, swollen lymph
glands in the neck, under arms or groin, white patches in the mouth (thrush),
certain cancers (Kaposi's sarcoma, certain lymphomas, certain invasive cervical
cancers), and infections (Pneumocystis pneumonia, certain types of meningitis,
toxoplasmosis, certain blood infections, TB, etc.).
A blood test may tell if you have HIV infection or AIDS
You can get a HIV blood test at your doctor's office or Call your local health
department for information.
There is treatment for people with HIV infection and AIDS
Many drugs are available to treat the infections and cancers associated with
There are also drugs available for people with HIV infection that can help
prevent them from getting sicker.
HIV and AIDS are preventable
•Don't make illegal relations.
•People who use injection drugs should try to quit. Otherwise, never share
•People with HIV or AIDS should discuss their HIV status with their doctors
and dentists, and inform their sex and needle sharing partners.
•Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy are encouraged to talk with
their doctor about getting tested for HIV. If a mother is known to be infected
with HIV, there is treatment to decrease the chance that her baby will become
•Practices called Universal Precautions and Standard Precautions, such as the
use of gloves, goggles, gowns, etc., are used by health care practitioners for
transmission of any communicable disease including HIV.
Interested in translating health topics to somali language!
We give here simplified and accurate information about the disease
DISCLAIMER: This website is provided for
general information and it's run by medical students for medical students only
and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. We are not responsible
or liable for any diagnosis or action made by a user based on the content of
this website. We are not liable for the contents of any external websites
listed, nor do we endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised
on any of the sites. Always consult your own doctor if you are in any way
concerned about your health