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  • HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.


    There are two types of HIV, HIV-1 and HIV-2. In the United States, unless otherwise noted, the term “HIV” primarily refers to HIV-1.


    HIV stands for 'human immunodeficiency virus'. HIV is a virus that infects cells of the human immune system by destroying or impairing their function and hence reducing the immunity of the human body (UNAIDS, 2012 a). HIV is infectious and can spread from one person to another.

  • At this time, there is no cure for HIV infection.

  • The best way is to get tested. General symptoms may include persistent fever, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  Other advanced warning signs include (CDC, 2012):

    rapid weight loss, dry cough, recurring fever or profuse night sweats, profound and unexplained fatigue, swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck, diarrhea that lasts for more than a week, white spots or unusual blemishes on the tongue, in the mouth, or in the throat, pneumonia, red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids, memory loss, depression, and other neurological disorders


  • HIV is transmitted through (UNAIDS, 2012 b):

    1. Unprotected sex (vaginal, anal and to a lesser extent oral sex) with an infected person
    2. Sharing contaminated syringes, needles or other sharp instruments
    3. From mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast feeding when the mother is already HIV positive
    4. Blood transfusion with contaminated blood.

  • No. For transmission of HIV to occur there is in most cases transmission of fluids or blood from infected person to the other.

  • - Safe sex
    - Condom use
    - Abstinence



  • Death in an HIV or AIDS infected person is caused by HIV related diseases such as fever, cancer, TB, malaria and any other infections.

  • Choose less risky sexual behaviors, limit your number of sex partners, use condoms, use medicines to prevent HIV if appropriate, and get checked for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The more of these actions you take, the safer you can be.

  • When used correctly and consistently, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV infection. Condoms are also effective at preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) transmitted through body fluids, like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV. However, they provide less protection against STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact like human papillomavirus (genital warts), genital herpes, and syphilis.

  • Male Condoms

    Latex condoms provide the best protection against HIV. Polyurethane (plastic) or polyisoprene (synthetic rubber) condoms are good options for people with latex allergies. Natural membrane (such as lambskin) condoms are porous, meaning that infections can pass through them, and therefore do not protect as well against HIV and certain other STDs.

    Female Condoms

    Female condoms are thin pouches made of a synthetic latex product called nitrile.  When worn in the vagina, female condoms are just as effective as male condoms at preventing STDs, HIV and pregnancy. Some people use female condoms for anal sex. However, we do not know how well female condoms prevent HIV and other STDs when used for anal sex. But we do know that HIV cannot travel through the nitrile barrier.

  • Although highly effective when used consistently and correctly, there is still a chance of getting HIV if you only use condoms, so adding other prevention methods can further reduce your risk.

  • Yes, because lubricants can help prevent condoms from breaking. Water-based and silicon-based lubricants are safe to use with latex condoms. Oil-based lubricants and products containing oil, such as hand lotion, Vaseline, or Crisco should not be used with latex condoms. It is safe to use any kind of lubricant with nitrile female condoms.

  • No.  Gels, films, or suppositories (Microbicides) can kill or neutralize viruses and bacteria. Researchers are studying both vaginal and rectal microbicides to see if they can prevent sexual transmission of HIV, but none are currently available for use.

  • Source: UNAIDS, (2012b)

    Source: CDC (2010, 2012)

    Source: Pew Charitable Trust (2014)


  • 82 percent of all those infected with HIV know their status, meaning that more than 200,000 Americans now infected with HIV are not aware of their condition.
  • Four of every 10 new HIV infections occur in people younger than 30.
  • The South accounted for nearly half (46%) of new AIDS diagnoses and the AIDS diagnosis rate in the Southern region was only second to the AIDS diagnosis rate in the Northeast region.
  • Half of newly reported HIV infections were in the South although the South accounted for only 37% of the US population.
  • Eight of the 10 US states with the highest rates of new HIV infections were located in the South.
  • Of the total number of new HIV infections in US women in 2009, 57% occurred in blacks, 21% were in whites, and 16% were in Hispanics/Latinas.
  • It is estimated that African Americans are 7 times more likely to be infected by HIV/AIDS than whites.
  • By 2009, an estimated cumulative number of 1,142,714 people had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDs in the US. In the same year an estimated 48,100 people were newly infected with HIV/AIDS in the country. In 2009, there were an estimated 11,200 new HIV infections among women in the United States.
  • Young adults and teens between 13 and 29 represent 34% of new HIV infections, the largest share of any age group. Black teens are disproportionately affected, representing 68% of reported AIDS cases among 13 to 19-year-olds in 2007.
  • In 2009, the rate of new HIV infections among black women was 15 times that of white women, and over 3 times the rate among Hispanic/Latina women.
  • The HIV/AIDS epidemic is disproportionately affecting the South East US as well as the black community. The Census Bureau defines the Southern US as consisting of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

In Partnership with: Poole College of Management, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Science Foundation, Penn State