HIV is not AIDS
HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the virus that can cause AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). HIV affects the human immunity system which ensures that your body produces the necessary defenses against various viruses that attack the human body and attenuate it. People who are diagnosed with HIV are called seropositive, HIV-positive or people living with HIV. These people are not sick and do not have AIDS, and might never get sick as well. In most cases they take antiretroviral therapy in order for them to keep HIV in non-detectable levels (in repression).
How is HIV transmitted?
• By having sex (vaginal or anal) without using a condom.
• By sharing needles for injecting drugs.
• By transfusion of infected blood. Nowadays, this danger has been minimized because blood is checked by high quality testing methods in hospitals.
Caution! There are people (even you) who are not aware of their HIV status. It is advised that you always use protection not only for yourself but for the others as well. Always use a condom and a water-based lubricant during sex and do not share needles or other sharp objects.
How is HIV not transmitted?
• By hugging or kissing someone who is HIV positive.
• By living with someone who is HIV positive, using the same houseware, bathroom, shower, bed, clothing etc.
• By working in the same workplace.
• By using the same swimming pool.
Caution! HIV is not transmitted through any social contact or insects. It is important for everyone to know this and feel comfortable close to people living with HIV.
Where can you get tested for HIV?
It is important to get tested regularly (every 6 months or annually at most) to see if you are HIV positive. Testing is anonymous and confidential, free of charge and you can get the results within a matter of days. For additional information you can call the AIDS helpline of KEELPNO (Greek Center for Disease Control and Prevention) at +30 210 72 22 222
If you think you have got infected with HIV
If you have any reasons to believe that you might have had a dangerous sexual contact or you have got infected with HIV by some other way, immediately go to the nearest hospital or HIV Infection Unit (find out the one closer to you at +30 210 7222222) and ask for PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis). This must happen as soon as possible, within 72 hours of the time you think you might have got infected with HIV.
Caution! PEP is actually antiretroviral therapy and you must follow it for a certain period of time (it is not a one-day treatment). It would be good not using it in vain.