The Most Frequently Asked HIV/AIDS Questions

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According to the National Center for Health Statistics, HIV/AIDS is one of the top 10 leading causes of death for African Americans. African Americans account for more than half (54 percent) of estimated new HIV infections in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that a quarter of those living with HIV, more than 250,000 do not know they are infected.

Throughout the years, there are still so many misconceptions, myths and rumors – which may or may not be contributing to why HIV/AIDS is still such a serious issue. Are unasked questions part of what’s standing in the way of proper protection?

1. What is HIV? Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV/AIDS weakens a person’s ability to fight infections and cancer. HIV transmission can occur with unprotected sex or with needle sharing. Symptoms of HIV vary widely. A person may have HIV symptoms or AIDS symptoms without knowing it until they get HIV testing.

2. What is AIDS? Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS, is caused by HIV. A person is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system is too weak to fight off infections. Since AIDS was first identified in the early 1980s, an unprecedented number of people have been affected by the global AIDS epidemic. Today, there are an estimated 34 million people living with HIV and AIDS worldwide.