HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is the name of the small germ that causes the body's defence system to break down, resulting in illness. (Link to What is HIV?)
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is the disease that results from having the HIV infection.
HIV is found in body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk.
HIV is spread through:
One can only know if s/he has HIV by taking an HIV test. A person cannot rely on symptoms to know whether or not s/he is infected with HIV. HIV testing involves taking a sample of blood and testing it to see if it is infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Most people develop detectable HIV antibodies within 6 to 12 weeks of being infected.
These are infections caused by organisms that would not cause disease in a person with a well functioning immune system. Opportunistic infections occur with lowered immunity (a fall in CD4 counts) in PLWHA. As the virus grows, it damages or kills cells in the body and weakens the immune system, leaving the individual vulnerable to various opportunistic infections and other illnesses, such as oesophageal candidiasis and Cryptococcal meningitis.
All persons are at risk of catching HIV. HIV doesn’t show prejudice. One’s behaviour determines whether an individual can be infected by HIV or not. In Botswana, sexual intercourse with an infected partner is, by far, the most common mode of transmission. Certain risky behaviours increase the chances of an individual contracting HIV, for example, having multiple concurrent partners or engaging in unprotected sex.