- Salivatears,sweat,feces, urine, vomit or ear wax
- Kissing, hugging or touching
- Shaking hands
- Insect or animal bites
- Living in the same house with someone who has HIV
- Sharing showers,bathrooms,pools or toilets with someone with HIV
- Touching public surfaces – like doorknobs, phone booths, or public benches
- Sharing food, drink or dishes
- Sharing a cup
- Sharing items of clothing, bed linens or towels
- Sports, going to the gym, sharing exercise equipment
- Unprotected sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal)
- Blood transfusion and organ transplant if donor is HIV infected
- Sharing drug injection equipment (needles and/or syringes) with an HIV positive person
- From an HIV positive mother to her infant during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding
- From unprotected oral sex with HIV positive person
- From accidental needle-stick injury involving a patient who is HIV positive
- By using tattooing and body piercing equipment that is infected with HIV.
HIV can be transmitted via the exchange of a variety of body fluids from infected individuals, such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. However, HIV cannot be transmitted through urine, saliva or sweat.
The symptoms of HIV vary depending on the stage of infection. Though people living with HIV tend to be most infectious in the first few months, many are unaware of their status until later stages. The first few weeks after initial infection, individuals may experience no symptoms or an influenza-like illness including fever, headache, rash or sore throat.
As the infection progressively weakens the immune system, an individual can develop other signs and symptoms, such as swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fever, diarrhoea and cough. Without treatment, they could also develop severe illnesses such as tuberculosis, cryptococcal meningitis, and cancers such as lymphomas and Kaposi’s sarcoma, among others.
HIV infection is often diagnosed through rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), which detect the presence or absence of HIV antibodies. Most often these tests provide same day test results; essential for same day diagnosis and early treatment and care.
There is no way to know for sure if someone else has HIV unless they have an HIV test. Many people with HIV look perfectly healthy. Other people who have HIV may have symptoms that are identical to other common illnesses. You cannot tell by looking whether someone is HIV positive.
Many people who have HIV don’t even know it because they don’t show any symptoms for years. Even though you don’t show any symptoms, you can still pass on the virus to someone else. Testing for HIV is the only way to know whether you have been infected or not infected.
There is a window period, where it takes 3 months for HIV antibodies to show up on an HIV test. The HIV antibody testing may be negative even though a person is infected. Healthcare workers will recommend retesting after three month window period to ensure the test is accurate.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS applies to the most advanced stages of HIV infection. It is defined by the occurrence of any of more than 20 opportunistic infections or HIV-related cancers.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.This virus attacks the body’s immune system and makes it difficult to fight off diseases and infections. The immune system is considered deficient when it can no longer fulfill its role of fighting infection and disease. Infections associated with severe immunodeficiency are known as “opportunistic infections”, because they take advantage of a weakened immune system. Immune function is typically measured by CD4 cell count. Immunodeficiency results in increased susceptibility to a wide range of infections and diseases that people with healthy immune systems can fight off .AIDS usually takes time to develop from the time a person acquires HIV–usually between 2 to 15 years.