What’s HIV?

HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that attacks the immune system and causes AIDS.

What is AIDS?

AIDS is the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Over time HIV weakens a person’s immune system until it is no longer able to fight off infections and cancers. Once this happens the person is said to have AIDS.

Who gets HIV?

Anyone can get HIV regardless of age, race, religion, gender, sex or sexual orientation.

How do you get HIV?

You can get HIV by doing things that allow enough HIV from the body fluid of someone already infected with HIV to get into your bloodstream. Unprotected anal or vaginal sex, sharing sex toys, sharing needles and blood transfusions are ways that you can get HIV. Babies can also get HIV from their mothers before or during birth or by drinking breast milk.

What body fluids can you get HIV from?

Blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk can carry HIV. You can not get HIV from saliva, urine or sweat.

How can you protect yourself against HIV?

You can protect yourself by avoiding unprotected sex. Use male condoms, female condoms and dental dams and don’t share sex toys. Get tested and encourage your partner to get tested. Don’t share needles or drug paraphernalia. If you are an expecting mother, get tested so that if you are HIV-positive your doctor can help you take precautions to prevent transmission to your baby.

How can you find out if you have HIV?

You can’t tell if you have HIV by how you feel, look or act. The only way to know if you have HIV is to get an HIV antibody test. This can be done at your family doctor or a drop-in clinic. Many places now offer anonymous HIV testing.

How do you treat HIV?

Currently there are over 20 licensed drugs that can be used to fight HIV. These are known as antiretrovirals and are taken in combination to help control HIV and keep the immune system as healthy as possible.

Can you cure HIV?

No. Although many of the antiretrovirals are effective in slowing down the replication of HIV, we cannot yet eliminated HIV from the body once a person has become infected. There is also no vaccine for HIV.

Children, Youth and HIV AIDS

  1. Globally there are an estimated 2.3 million children under the age of 15 living with HIV/AIDS.
  2. 11.8 million youth aged 15-24 are living with HIV and women represent 62% of this group.
  3. Over 85% of all children living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa.
  4. 1,000 children under the age of 15 were infected with HIV each day in 2006
  5. 380,000 children under the age of 15 died of HIV/AIDS in 2006.
  6. 1 in 6 AIDS-related deaths and 1 in 7 new HIV infections occur in children under 15.
  7. With the proper precautions, the risk of an HIV-positive mother transmitting the virus to her child can be reduced to 1-2%.
  8. Less than 10% of pregnant women are offered services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
  9. Pediatric formulations of antiretrovirals are expensive and not available for all drugs. A standard regimen to treat a child for one year costs US$ 534 while treating an adult with the same drugs for a year costs US$ 132.
  10. Over 13 million children under the age of 15 have lost one or both parents to the HIV epidemic.

The Need for Pediatric Formulations of Antiretrovirals

Access to Antiretrovirals for Children:

No Incentive to Develop Pediatric Formulations:

The Problem with Current Pediatric Formulations:

What is Needed: