One of the first steps in the fight against HIV is education.

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus and it’s the virus that can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). It enters the body and infects immune system cells, as well as other cells in the body — causing more copies of the virus to be produced. A person who has been infected with HIV is living with the virus, but does not necessarily have AIDS.

  • There are currently 1.2 million people in the United States living with HIV.
  • Approximately 1 in 8 people who are living with HIV are unaware of their status.
  • In 2015, there were more than 39,000 new HIV diagnoses in the United States.
  • Top ten states with the highest rates HIV diagnosis are California, New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia.
Youth and HIV
  • About one in five HIV infections are amongst 13-24 year olds.
  • At the end of 2012, an estimated 57,200 youth ages 18 to 24 were living with HIV in the United States. Of this group, 25,300 were living with undiagnosed HIV

There are many myths about how HIV is spread. You can’t acquire HIV by drinking from a water fountain, sitting on a toilet seat, hugging or touching someone who has HIV, or by eating off plates and utensils. However, here are some ways HIV can be transmitted:

  • By way of bodily fluids (blood, semen, and vaginal secretions) during sexual contact. Saliva is not considered a transmission route for HIV.
  • By sharing needles to inject drugs. Infected blood can be exchanged between the parties who are using the same needle and syringe.
  • Through the transfusion of infected blood or blood products

A woman living with HIV can transmit the virus to her child during pregnancy, during delivery, or while breastfeeding if she isn’t getting treatment.

Women and HIV

There are many reasons why it’s important for women to know the facts when it comes to HIV. Biologically, we’re more susceptible to infection during sex.

  • There are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S. and almost 280,000 are women
  • 1 in 139 women will be diagnosed with HIV at some point within their life.
  • Heterosexual sex is the source of 87% of new infections in women.
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These are statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.