Q: What does HIV stand for?
A: Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
Q: What does AIDS stand for?
A: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
Q: What is the difference
between AIDS and HIV?
A: HIV is the virus that causes the
disease AIDS. AIDS is the group of illnesses acquired
when the immune system is unable to defend against
infection. AIDS is the terminal stage of infection
by the HIV. In the early stages of HIV infection, infected
person look and feel totally well. Only when the immune
system gets impaired do they begin to feel ill. The
time between infection with HIV and becoming ill with
AIDS may range from 2-10 years or even longer.
Q: Can donating
blood put you at risk of HIV infection?
A: When you donate blood, blood is
removed from your body not put into it. Remember you
cannot get the HIV unless infected blood enters your
body. You can easily avoid this by ensuring that only
disposable needles and IV sets are used during blood
Q: What is ‘Window
A: The blood test to detect HIV in
the body (ELISA TEST) doesn’t become positive
immediately after the entry of virus into the body.
It takes between 1-3 months (maximum 6 months) for
this test to become positive. This time between entry
of virus into the body and the blood test becoming
positive is known as ‘Window period’. The
person is infectious i.e. able to transmit the virus
during window period.
Q: Can I get AIDS
virus in a barbershop?
A: Chances of getting infected with
HIV in a barber’s shop are extremely rare. However,
it is best to ensure that the barber uses a new blade
while shaving you. Also make sure all his equipment-
scissors, razors etc. are clean and dry before he uses
Q: Can I share
a toilet with someone who has AIDS?
A: Definitely. You cannot get and
HIV infection from a toilet, public or private, clean
or dirty. The AIDS virus cannot survive outside the
bodily fluids or in the hope for very long.
Q: Can I get the
AIDS virus through kissing?
A: While dry kissing in which there
is no exchange of body fluids is safe, there is some
risk of HIV infection being transmitted through deep
kissing particularly if some has got bleeding gums
or cuts and sores in the mouth.
Q: Can I get HIV
from a mosquito bite?
A: No, it is not possible to get HIV
from mosquitoes. While sucking blood from someone mosquitoes
do not inject blood from any previous person. The only
thing that mosquito injects is saliva, which act as
a lubricant and enables it to feed more efficiently.
Q: Can I become
infected with HIV through biting?
A: Infection with HIV in this way
is unusual. There has only been couple of documented
cases of HIV transmission resulting from biting. In
these particular cases severe tissue tearing and damage
were reported in addition to the presence of blood.
Q: Is there a
risk of HIV transmission when having a tattoo?
A: If instruments contaminated with
blood are not sterilized between clients there is a
risk of HIV transmission. So, one should insist on
use of sterilized or disposable needles only before
Q: Am I at risk
of becoming infected with HIV when visiting the doctor’s
A: Transmission of HIV in a healthcare
setting is extremely rare. All doctors are supposed
to follow infection control procedures call universal
precautions when caring for any patient. They are designed
to protect both patients and doctors from the transmission
of HIV. Insist your doctor or dentist to follow these
precautions while giving care to you.
Q: If an employee
has HIV, should he or she be allowed to continue work?
A: Yes, HIV remains dormant in an
infected person’s body for many years. Workers
who have no symptoms associated with AIDS should continue
to work, and should be treated no differently from
other workers. Those with AIDS or AIDS-related illness
should be treated in the same way as any other employees
who are ill, In fact, this attitude will go far in
helping curb the menace of AIDS.
Q: Can oral sex
A: Oral sex (mouth or tongue touching
genitals) may carry risk of HIV infection especially
if there are cuts or sores present in the mouth or
on the genitals.
Q: Are condoms
the only answer to safe sex?
A: No. While good quality lubricated
condoms reduce the risk of HIV and STD infections,
no condom can be said to be absolutely safe. Condoms
can tear or Ave. microscopic holes which make them
ineffective. The only safe sexual behavior is to have
a mutually faithful sexual partner, who is not infected
with HIV, or to practice sexual abstinence.
Q: How will I
be sure that my future marriage partner is not infected
A: In India, where most marriages
are "arranged" and future partners have little
interaction before marriage, this is a difficult predicament.
The only way to be certain of a person’s HIV
status is through a blood test. So nowadays it is advisable
to do an HIV test before marriage as a common consent
between the would-be couple.
Q: How should
an HIV – infected person cope with his / her
A: While testing HIV positive is a
traumatic experience, it is important to learn how
to cope. A good counselor, friend or family member
with whom one can share anxieties and fears is helpful.
One should follow a healthy lifestyle and eat nutritious,
balanced meals. Responsible sexual behavior is critical – remember
condoms are not 100% safe. An HIV positive woman should
know the risks of getting pregnant. Financial planning
for the future will reduce stress.
Q: Why do people
who are infected with HIV eventually die?
A: When people are infected with HIV,
they do not die of HIV or AIDS. These people die due
to the effects that the HIV has on the body. With the
immune system down, the body becomes susceptible to
many infections from the common cold to cancer. It
is actually these particular infections and the body’s
inability to fight the infections that cause these
people to become so sick, that they eventually die.
Q: Are all the
children born to HIV infected mother infected with
A: No. about one-third of children
born to HIV positive mothers become infected with HIV.
However nowadays if one gives anti HIV drug AZT to
these mothers during pregnancy and labor and then to
newborn child this risk of infection can be reduced
Q: What is the
truth about the AIDS cure claims published daily in
A: Traditional medical practitioners
tend to believe that they can cure AIDS by giving immuno-potentiating
drugs. Due to lack of knowledge about conducting clinical
trials scientifically, hasty conclusions are drawn
on simple outcome measures such as weight gain or feeling
of well being. Such improvements are dubbed as AIDS
cure claims. Many AIDS cure claims tend to get published
in the newspapers in India. Unfortunately, these claims
are not based over adequate scientific evidence and
they are just made to extract money from these poor
sufferers. HIV / AIDS patients in search of hope tend
to get easily attracted towards such claims and take
the treatment. However there is no scientifically documented
approach to AIDS cure as of today in any of medical
sciences as yet in the world. HIV infected individuals
should not get mislead by such claims.