HIV (human immunodeficiency (ih MEW no dee FISH encee) virus) is a virus that causes a number of different health problems including AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). The HIV virus is passed from person to person in certain ways:
It takes many months and even years for the HIV virus to cause enough harm to the body to result in illness or disease, so an HIV infected person may not look sick.
The best way for doctors to find out if a person has HIV is to look for HIV antibodies (AN te bod ees). Antibodies are made by the body as soon as the person is infected with HIV. The HIV virus attacks many cells in the body, especially the cells of the immune system. The virus damages the T-4 cells that help the immune system fight off disease. When the immune system is badly damaged, people with HIV can be infected by many different and unusual germs. These unusual infections are what we call AIDS.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19 be tested for HIV every year.
The Oral Point of Care test checks for HIV antibodies. This test is free. The test is done by swabbing the inside of the patient’s mouth with a stick that looks like a cotton swab (Picture 1). It does not hurt. The results are available in 20 minutes or less. The test is offered to all patients over the age of 13 who come into the Emergency Department.
If the test is positive, you will be given your results and a list of area resources. Blood work will also be done to confirm the results from the Oral Point of Care Test, but these results will not be available right away. All positive test results will be referred to the Family AIDS Clinic and Education Services (FACES) Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The FACES staff has over 20 years’ experience working with HIV and provide many services to HIV positive patients. Appointments include time with a nurse, social worker, doctor, dietician and patient advocate.
You will receive a phone call from staff within 48 hours to confirm your visit and set up a time for you to have lab work done.
HIV can only live inside the body. It can only be spread through INTIMATE CONTACT between an infected person and an uninfected person. HIV is passed to another person only when blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breastmilk that contains HIV gets into that person's body.
Examples of intimate contact and ways of spreading the virus are:
The HIV virus is NOT spread through "casual contact." Some ways HIV/AIDS is NOT spread are:
So far no other family members of HIV infected children have gotten the virus from casual contact.
Some of the more common health problems in HIV positive individuals are:
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