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The 5 ways to contract HIV are:

  1. Unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected partner
  2. Through performing or receiving oral sex
  3. Sharing needles or other contaminated injection or skin-piercing equipment
  4. Through blood and blood products, for example, infected transfusions and organ or tissue transplants
  5. Transmission from infected mother to child in the womb or at birth and breast feeding

To help reduce your risk of becoming infected with HIV one should:

  • Use latex or polyurethane condoms during every act of sex including during oral sex
  • Use male or female condoms along with your chosen contraceptive
  • Limit the number of your sex partners
  • Avoid having sex with partners who have risky behaviors (including other sex partners)
  • Get tested for HIV with your partner to ensure that you are both uninfected
  • Avoid using skin-piercing instruments that have not been disinfected
  • Avoid sharing needles, IV drugs, and drug paraphernalia
  • Practice universal precautions at all times (for health care workers)

How to Prevent HIV Infection

  • Speak openly with partners about safer sex techniques and HIV status.
  • If you don't know your status, get an HIV test to protect yourself and others.
  • Get tested with your partner as a way of saying "you care and want both of you to stay healthy."
  • Use a latex condom with each oral, anal or vaginal sexual encounter. Those with latex allergies should use latex-free condoms.
  • Do not share needles or syringes if you inject drugs. If you do inject drugs, seek professional help to kick your habit.
  • HIV infected pregnant women should get into regular prenatal, intrapartum and postpartum care.
  • HIV infected women should not breast feed.

HIV Signs and Symptoms

Often people who are HIV infected have few or no symptoms. Other times, symptoms of HIV are confused with other illnesses such as the flu. If a person were to have symptoms they would include:
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, groin or under the arms
  • Diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever, chills or sweats (especially at night)
  • Visual changes
  • Frequent pneumonias or shortness of breath
  • Rash
  • Flu-like symptoms
 

HIV Statistics

  • For African American men who have sex with men HIV prevalence is estimated at 55% overall (SFDPH 2001a). Among anonymous testers, prevalence was 9.7% (SFDPHb). Another study found a 29% prevalence (Catina et al 2001). Collectively, this data suggests that African Americans have the highest prevalence of any MSM population.
  • The HIV/AIDS infection rate among Black men is 6 times that of white men and the rate among Black women is 16 times that of white women
  • The number of men with AIDS per 100,000 population includes:
    Blacks - 125
    Hispanics - 58
    Whites - 18
    American Indian/Alaska native - 16
    Asian/Pacific Islander - 9
  • The number of women with AIDS per 100,000 population includes:
    Blacks -50
    Hispanics -17
    American Indian/Alaska native - 4
    Whites - 2
    Asian/Pacific Islander - 1
  • AIDS now accounts for 1 in 3 deaths among Black men aged 25 to 44
  • More children with AIDS are Black than all other race and ethnic groups combined
  • Every day in the U.S. about 100 people of color become infected with HIV
  • More than two-thirds of all women in the U.S. who are infected with the AIDS virus are Black
  • Blacks represent 57% of all new AIDS cases in the United States, though comprising only 13% of the population
  • AIDS is the leading cause of death of Blacks, age 25-44
  • AIDS is the leading cause of death for Black women
 

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