Adolescents and HIV/AIDS FACTS
Classroom- HIV & AID's
Quiz on HIV & AIDS
Quiz on HIV & AIDS (Answer Key)
HIV is the abbreviation for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is the virus (infection)
that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), a disease that can destroy one’s life.
Human immunodeficiency virus infection occurs when infected cells in blood, semen, or other body fluids are spread from one
person to another. HIV infection attacks and breaks down the body’s immune system which normally produces white blood
cells and antibodies that fight against viruses and bacteria. The infection-fighting cells are called CD4+T-cell lymphocytes.
When the T-cell lymphocytes are destroyed, the body’s immune system is no longer able to effectively protect the body
against diseases. The infected person is more open or susceptible to illnesses that usually do not affect healthy persons.
Dr. David Satcher, the Surgeon General of the United States, states that there are 33.4 million HIV-infected people
around the world, and 665,000 in the United States. It is estimated that 50 percent of all new HIV infections in the United
States are among people under 25, the majority of these young people are infected sexually. Nearly half (44
percent) of the HIV infections in the age group 13 to 24 were reported among young females and over half (63 percent) were
among African Americans. It is important to remember that HIV can be present in the body for up to twelve years without producing
any outward signs of illness.
How Can You Become Infected?
Women, because of the structure of the female genital tract, run a higher risk of contracting the AIDS virus
from a man than men do from women. That’s why the disease is increasingly transmitted through heterosexual activity
and is claiming the lives of African American women at such an alarming rate. Common ways of acquiring HIV infection are:
Having unprotected (without a condom) sex with someone who has HIV. Sharing needles and/or syringes used in IDU (injection
drug use). A pregnant woman with HIV can give it to her baby during childbirth or while breastfeeding (this does not always
happen, however). Blood transfusions. Since 1985, however, people have seldom received HIV from an infusion of blood or blood-products
because better safeguards are practiced against such occurrences.
What is AIDS?
AIDS is a late stage of HIV infection, and is present when the body becomes overpowered by one
or more opportunistic infections. These opportunistic infections ultimately cause death because the body cannot defend
itself against them. Also, if a person’s CD4+T-cell count drops below 200, he or she is considered to have AIDS. A
healthy person usually has from 800 to 1,200 CD4+T cells.
Common Questions & Answers
"Can I become infected with HIV from "French" or open-mouth kissing?
There is the potential for infection with blood during "French kissing" if either partner has gum disease
or there are other conditions when blood is present. Health care experts recommend against engaging in this activity with
an HIV infected person.
"Can I become infected with HIV from oral sex?"
It can happen, but not as likely as infection through anal or vaginal sex. Condoms and other health protective
barriers should be used to prevent contact with body fluids.
"Can birth control pills prevent a person from getting HIV infection?"
No. Birth control pills do not protect against HIV infection or other STDs.
"I have anal sex with my boyfriend so I won’t get pregnant. Is this a safeguard against AIDS?"
No. Anal Intercourse with an infected partner is one of the most common ways that HIV is contracted. Anal
is very risky whether you are male or female.