Being HIV-positive means you have AIDS.
Fiction. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that destroys the body’s CD4 immune cells; these cells help fight disease. With the right medications, you can have HIV for many years without it progressing to AIDS. AIDS is diagnosed when you have HIV as well as certain opportunistic infections or your CD4 cell count drops below 200.
You can’t get HIV from casual contact.
Fact. HIV is spread through unprotected sex, shared intravenous needles, or tattoos created with unsterilized equipment. You can’t catch or spread HIV from hugging, using the same towel, or sharing a glass. These days it’s very rare to get HIV from a blood transfusion since the U.S. blood supply has been carefully tested since 1985.
Anyone can be infected with HIV.
Fact. Anyone can get HIV—men, women, children, and people who are gay or straight or young or old. Men who have sex with men make up more than half (63 percent in 2010) of new HIV infections each year. Women account for 20 percent of new infections, and children 13 percent. African-Americans make up roughly 44 percent of all new HIV infections each year. About 50,000 people in this country get HIV each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 million Americans are living with HIV, and 1 in 5 don’t know they are infected.
Read more about the 5 things you need to know about HIV at BlackHealthMatters.Com.
BET Health News - We go beyond the music and entertainment world to bring you important medical information and health-related tips of special relevance to Blacks in the U.S. and around the world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Get ready for the BET Experience, featuring Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, R. Kelly, Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar and many more. Go here for more details and info on how to buy tickets. Sign up now to attend free film screenings, celebrity basketball games and more.
(Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
TRENDING IN NEWS