Monday, March 23, 2009

Contactos / Links

AIDS Committee of Durham Region

Toronto PWA fundation

AIDS Committe of Toronto

Centro Para Gente de Habla Hispana

What's HIV/AIDS?

What’s AIDS?
AIDS is a disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that damages the body’s immune system and gradually destroys the ability to fight illness

How does HIV attack your body?
When HIV enters the body it can reproduce without any signs or symptoms. It can take years before the person develops AIDS. By weakening the body, HIV/AIDS allows other infections and diseases to invade the body. When people are first infected with HIV they usually feel well and often do not know they are infected.

How is it spread?

It can be spread in three ways:

By having sexual interaction with an HIV infected individual without the proper protection

Every time someone has vaginal or anal sex with an infected person without using a condom there’s a high risk of getting infected. There is also a risk of getting infected by having oral sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or dental dam.

By sharing contaminated needles or syringes

HIV is also frequently spread among injection drug users by the sharing of contaminated instruments. The virus can also be spread through the use of non-sterile instruments that enter the body (e.g. tattooing or skin piercing equipment).

A woman to her baby

A woman infected with HIV can pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy, during birth, and through breast-feeding. Now a day, there are medications that reduce the risk of an HIV positive woman infecting her baby.

Who is at risk of getting infected?

HIV is a virus that can get into anyone without distinction of gender, sexual preference, age, social status, culture, religion or way of life. Any person that is sexually active or shares infected injecting instruments can get infected.

How you can prevent it

Being informed is the best way to prevent yourself from getting infected. If you inject drugs use a new needle and new supplies every time you inject.
Protect yourself by having safer sex. This means making sure that the other person’s blood, semen, or vaginal fluid does not get into your bloodstream. Use a latex condom every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.

The use of condoms

According the World Health Organization, everyday about 100 million people in the world have sex. Approximately one million result in non planned pregnancies and about half a million people get a sexually transmitted infection. These pregnancies and infections could be prevented with the constant and correct use of female or male condoms.

To make sure your condom use is efficient keep this in mind:

-Store your condoms in a cool dry place. Do not keep them in your wallet; this will crush the wrapper and the condoms will go bad. Don’t forget to check for the expiration date.

-Before opening a condom, make sure the wrapper is not tear or broken. Do not open the wrap with your teeth, you could damage the condom.

-Always put the condom on before initiating the intercourse. Do not use oil-based lubricants, they can weaken the latex and make it break. Use only water-based lubricants.

HIV can NOT be transmitted by:
-Insect bites
-Using public places like pools, bathrooms, restaurants
-Shaking hands, hugging, or having everyday contact with infected people, as well as working, living, studying or performing any activity close to them.
-Using the same cooking or eating utensils
-Taking care of someone living with HIV/AIDS
-Kissing an infected person

Do you need more information?

Here’s a list of websites where you can find more information in English