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Question 1 Is HIV just another term for AIDS?

No, HIV and AIDS are not the same.


HIV stands for Human Immuno - Deficiency Virus. It is the name of the virus that causes AIDS. It belongs to the family of viruses called retrovirus. HIV causes reduction of body’s capability to fight against various infections in human body. It makes the body weak and sick.


The word AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is a medical diagnosis for a combination of symptoms, which results from a breakdown of the immune system. ‘A’ stands for ‘Acquired’, which means that it is obtained or received by a person, and is something, which is not genetically inherited. ‘ID’ stands for Immune Deficiency which means there is deficiency in the immune system or that the immune system is weakened. ‘S’ stands for Syndrome that stands to emphasize that AIDS is not just one disease or symptom but presents as a group of diseases or symptoms.


Question 2 Does AIDS get spread through shaking hands, kissing, sneezing, through other body fluids like sweat, tears or urine?

HIV is not transmitted through everyday person-to-person contact at home, or through everyday social contact at school, at workplace or in public places. It is not transmitted any of the activities mentioned in the question. There are four ways of its transmission, they are


§         Unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person.

§         Transmission of infected blood from one person to another.

§         Through the use of unsterilised needles and syringes.

§         From an infected mother to her unborn child.  



Question 3 Can HIV get transmitted through mosquito bites?

No, it has never been reported that HIV has spread through mosquitoes.  White blood cells and HIV are destroyed in the highly acidic environment of the mosquito’s stomach. Mosquitoes do inject their saliva into their victims. Malaria is carried in the saliva and spreads in this way. HIV cannot be spread in this way. HIV cannot exist in mosquito’s saliva.


Question 4 Can HIV/AIDS get spread through sharing of towels, food, utensils or office equipment?

No, it does not spread through sharing of objects.


Question 5 Is there anybody other than sex workers and homosexuals who can get infected with HIV/AIDS?

Practically, there is no one in the world who can consider himself or herself  ‘not being at risk’ of getting infected by HIV/AIDS. It is not who you are or where you live, but what you do that puts you at risk of becoming infected with HIV.


Question 6 Is it true that having anal sex is a sure way to get AIDS?

The vast majority of HIV infections are the result of sexual transmission. Initially most cases were discovered among homosexual men. This was because HIV was first identified in this group. However, the chances of infection are higher during anal intercourse than vaginal sex. But that never means that having anal sex is a sure way to get AIDS.  The average chance that an infected male will transmit HIV to an uninfected female partner by unprotected vaginal sex is estimated as between 1 and 2 per 1000 exposure. The risk of transmission from an infected female to an uninfected male partner through unprotected vaginal sex one third to one half whereas this is 5 to 30 in case of unprotected anal sex.


Question 7 Is it true that males are more prone to HIV/AIDS infection?

Anyone can get infected with HIV. Most people get HIV by having unprotected sex with someone who is already infected with HIV. The women are considered to be more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS both due to biological reasons and socioeconomic factors but it does not mean that the males are not at risk. As a matter of fact, the male partners infect most of the women, thus, the males also have the risk of getting


Question 8 If I’m tested negative in one test, does it mean I’ll not get infected ever in my life?

If one gets infected with HIV, his/her body will develop antibodies to the virus. If the test finds antibodies, the person concerned will be positive and if the test does not find antibodies, it will show negative. It often takes at least 3 months, usually longer, before one develops enough antibodies to test positive. This period is called ‘window period’. If one gets tested negative within this period, it never means that he would not get tested positive after this window period. Thus, if one finds him at risk of getting infected after committing any sort of risky practice, he should get tested at least twice and needs to practice safe practices to protect him/her self and others also.


Question 9 Is it true that a healthy looking person can never be HIV positive?

The HIV infection begins as soon as the virus enters into the body of a susceptible host through any of the routes of transmission. In the initial stage, the person himself does not come to know about it and generally there exists no sign of this infection. His health may remain same as it was before the infection. This stage is called as ‘window period’ and if a blood sample is taken at this time for testing the HIV antibodies, the result may be negative. The virus then multiplies rapidly producing a state acute viraemia, which is manifested in 20-30% of the cases as fever, headache, diarrhoea and rashes, which is usually passed off by the affected person or his physician as a bad flu.

Thus, a healthy looking person may also be an infected one and carry the virus and more importantly spread the infection.


Question 10 I have heard that there are drugs that can cure AIDS. Is it true?

At the moment there is no known cure for AIDS. However there are drugs known as Anti retrovirals or ARVs (since HIV is a retrovirus). They can help a person by reducing the HIV related morbidity and mortality, improving the quality of life, restoration and/or preservation of immunological function and maximal and durable suppression of viral replication.


Question 11 Can good amount of exercise help me to be free from the risk of getting infected to the disease?

Good amount of exercise definitely helps a person to have a good health but it can not protect one from the risk of getting infected with HIV if the person concerned indulges any sort of risky behaviour like having unprotected sex, sharing of syringes while taking intravenous drugs, using HIV infected blood or blood products. Moreover, the virus can also get transmitted from the infected mother to her baby. Thus, as a preventive measure, exercise can improve the immune response of the body but does not prevent HIV.


Question 12 Is withdrawal method a good method of preventing HIV/AIDS?

Only a sexual contact that does not involve penetration can be considered safe. Even the preejaculate fluid contains HIV and can transmit infection. On the other hand the male partner will come in contact with the vaginal fluid which can transmit the infection from the female to the male partner.


Question 13 I have heard that using condom is a foolproof way of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Is it true?

Condom use is a good measure to prevent the transmission of HIV through sexual modes. But still, condom can prevent the disease transmission with certainty only if it is used correctly and consistently at each sexual contact, whether it is oral vaginal or anal.


Question 14 There are various types of birth control other than condom like, IUD, oral contraceptives. Are they equally efficient to prevent HIV/AIDS?

Only condom protects against the STIs and HIV as it does not allow the exchange of semen and vaginal fluid between partners and also prevents contact of these fluids with the penis or the vagina. For protection against STI or HIV condoms must be used simultaneously with any other contraceptive method.



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