Aids: learn more about this virus

Everyone should know this about HIV:


Persons at risk and risk factors


Medical Treatments

Complementary approaches

HIV is transmitted through body fluids: blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. These body fluids only transmit HIV if they come into contact with an area that allows HIV to enter the body, a mucous membrane. Healthy skin is impermeable to HIV.

Most often, the virus is contracted through unprotected sexual activity or was contracted in the past through needle exchange among injection drug users. Contrarily to what one might think, the risk of transmission through kissing with saliva exchange is zero.

The male condom is a latex, polyurethane or polyisoprene membrane. It protects against HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is single-use and is placed on the erect penis just before vaginal or anal penetration.

The female condom is a large, flexible sheath that is inserted into the vagina to line the walls of the vagina. The female condom has the advantage that it can be put on several hours before intercourse. It is a single-use condom.

When someone has taken a risk, it can take up to 6 weeks for the contamination to be detectable in the blood (in France, HIV tests carried out from a blood sample are totally reliable after 6 weeks).

An infected person who tests too early could have a negative result and still carry the virus. In this case, he or she would not be able to be treated and could unknowingly infect others.

Viral DNA can find a place in the character string of cellular DNA; however, it can only integrate in certain positions.

Once its “bad work” has been accomplished, the virus tries to “reconstitute” itself in order to continue its detestable behaviour in another cell.

Two markers are currently commonly and exclusively used: the “viral load” (CV) and the number of “CD4 cells” contained in the plasma.

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