The right to know
|In Mozambique, Adriano teaches peer educators at the UNICEF-supported organization Kindlimuka.|
1. AIDS is caused by HIV
AIDS is caused by HIV, the human immuno-deficiency virus, which damages the body's defence system. People who have AIDS become weaker because their bodies lose the ability to fight all illnesses. They eventually die. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS.
2. The onset of AIDS can take up to 10 years
The onset of AIDS can take up to 10 years from the time of infection with the HIV virus. Therefore a person infected with HIV may look and feel healthy for many years, but he or she can transmit the virus to someone else. New drug therapies can help a person stay healthier for longer, but the person will still have HIV and be able to pass on the virus.
3. HIV is transmitted through the exchange of any HIV-infected bodily fluids
HIV is transmitted through the exchange of any HIV-infected bodily fluids. Transfer may occur during all stages of the infection/disease. The HIV virus is found in the following fluids: blood, semen (and pre-ejaculated fluid), vaginal secretions and breast milk.
There is no known case of getting the virus from saliva while kissing. However, if a person has a cut in the mouth, s/he could possibly get HIV from kissing an infected person who also has a cut or open sore.
4. HIV is most frequently sexually transmitted
HIV is most frequently transmitted sexually. That is because fluids mix and the virus can be exchanged, especially where there are tears in vaginal or anal issue, wounds or other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). Girls are especially vulnerable to HIV infection because their vaginal membranes are thinner and more susceptible to infection than those of mature women.
5. People who have sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) are at greater risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS
People who have sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) are at greater risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS and of transmitting their infection to others. People with STIs should seek prompt treatment and avoid sexual intercourse or practice safer sex (non-penetrative sex or sex using a condom) and inform their partners. A person infected with an STI is five to ten times more likely to become infected with HIV.
6. The risk of sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS can be reduced
The risk of sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS can be reduced if people don't have sex, if uninfected partners have sex only with each other or if people have safer sex -- sex without penetration or using a condom. The only way to be completely sure to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV is by abstaining from all sexual contact.
7. People who inject themselves with drugs are at high risk of becoming infected with HIV/AIDS
People who inject themselves with drugs are at high risk of becoming infected with HIV/AIDS - they should always use a clean syringe and needle, and never share their injecting equipment with others.. HIV can also be transmitted when the skin is cut or pierced using an unsterilized needle, syringe, razorblade, knife or any other tool that carries HIV-infected blood. If you have sex with someone you suspect is injecting drugs, there is always a risk of transmitting HIV if you have unprotected sex. Condoms reduce that risk.
8. Contact a health worker or an HIV/AIDS centre to receive counselling and testing
Contact a health worker or an HIV/AIDS centre to receive counselling and testing if you suspect that you might have been infected with HIV. It is your right, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to have access to youth-friendly health and counselling services HIV counselling and testing can help you to detect HIV infection, get the support services you need, learn about living with HIV, manage other infectious diseases you might have and avoid infecting others.
9. HIV is not transmitted by everyday contact
HIV is not transmitted by everyday contact such as hugging or shaking hands, using swimming pools and toilet seats, sharing bed linen, eating utensils or food, or through mosquito and other insect bites, coughing or sneezing.
10. Everyone deserves compassion and support
Discriminating against people who are infected with HIV/AIDS or anyone thought to be at risk of infection violates individual human rights and endangers public health. Everyone infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS deserves compassion and support.