Millions of Americans have been touched, directly or indirectly, by AIDS and now it’s happened to you. A loved one has just told you that he or she has been diagnosed with AIDS. What does it mean? ‘This article looks at AIDS and how it is transmitted, discusses AIDS and casual contact, and gives you some tips for helping your loved one.
What Is AIDS?
AIDS is the acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. A person sick with AIDS has his or
her immune system seriously weakened by a virus. The scientific term most often used for the virus is ffIV (human ir=unodeficiency virus). A person who tests HIV positive (or HIV+) for the virus but who does not exhibit any of the infections associated with AIDS is not classified as having AIDS.
How Is AIDS Transmitted?
The AIDS virus is spread through direct transmission to the bloodstream by unsafe or unprotected sexual practices. It can also be transmitted through drug addicts who share needles, through tainted blood products And from an HIV+ mother to an unborn child.
Can I Get AIDS From My Loved One?
The AIDS virus is not spread through casual contact. If your loved one lives with you, he or she need not be restricted from using and sharing house-hold facilities and equipment such as:
- Cooking utensils
- Washers and dryers.
If your loved one is also your sex partner, however, speak to your physician. You might be advised to be tested for the virus and can be given complete information on safe sex practices.
Coping With Fears
If you are feeling fearful and apprehensive about the situation, check with your local public health department or an AIDS hotline for the facts.
Support groups for families affected by AIDS are available in some areas around the country. Your local health department or the nearest university medical center might have information about groups available in your area.
© 1989 PARLAY INTERNATIONAL