Contact us at or email us at
Counseling and facts about
AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) / HIV
AIDS stands for the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

What is the cause?
AIDS is caused by a virus- HIV (human immunodeficiency

How is it spread?
HIV is spread by blood or secretions from an infected person
coming into contact with another person’s skin or mucous membranes (surfaces of
the body not lined by skin).

HIV may be spread in any of these ways:

* BY SEXUAL CONTACT: Any sexual contact which spreads infectious body fluids-
whether oral, vaginal, or rectal; and whether male-to-female, male-to-male, or
female-to-female- can spread HIV and lead to AIDS.

* BY CONTAMINATED NEEDLES: Needles contaminated with blood containing HIV can
spread HIV and lead to AIDS. An example is sharing contaminated needles for
injection of heroin.

* OTHER METHOD OF SPREAD: More rarely, HIV can be spread to healthcare workers
through accidents in hospitals. HIV can be spread through transfusion of human
blood and blood products (now very rare). HIV can be spread from an infected
mother to her infant before or during delivery. A ONE-TIME contact is sufficient
to become infected.

How common is it?
The number of people infected with AIDS is increasing in
Dade County. Throughout the U.S.A. and especially in some parts of the world
(sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia), AIDS is rampant, causing epidemics
which may virtually wipe out some countries.

What may be the symptoms?
MALES AND FEMALES (Partial List of Symptoms)
HIV, spread from one person to another, must enter the body through a break
(cut, scratch, skin irritation, “sore,” needle stick) in the skin or mucous
membrane (a surface of the body not covered by skin). HIV travels to local lymph
nodes, where the virus begins reproducing itself. Early in the infection, there
may be non-specific symptoms resembling influenza (“flu”) or infectious
mononucleosis (“mono”). For a relatively long time, the virus remains latent
(hidden), living and slowly dividing in the lymph nodes without producing
symptoms. This latent period may last for seven to ten years in older children
and adults, but is shorter in newborn infants and older adults. Slowly, the
lymph nodes (which form a major part of the body’s immune system) are destroyed
by this viral infection. As the body’s immune system becomes destroyed, HIV
spreads through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Symptoms of AIDS
begin appearing. Because the immune system is significantly destroyed, the
person is susceptible to a variety of infections, some a nuisance but others
life-threatening. Cancers may develop, especially lymphomas (lymph node
malignancies) and Kaposi’s sarcoma. As the brain becomes infected, approximately
half of AIDS patients develop severe neurologic disease with dementia (loss of
higher brain functions). Death occurs.

IMPORTANT: Representative symptoms are listed for information only. If infected,
you may not have all of the listed symptoms, or you could have other symptoms
not listed. Do NOT try to diagnose or exclude the diagnosis of AIDS on your own.
Only a qualified healthcare professional can make this diagnosis. If you think
you may have AIDS or have been exposed to AIDS, visit a healthcare professional

What is the treatment?
There is no way of eradicating HIV from the body or of
curing AIDS. Intensive (many pills each day) and expensive drug therapy may slow
the progress of the disease.

What is the prevention?
No AIDS vaccine is available. An AIDS vaccine may not be
developed for many years, if at all. Prevention rests solely on personal
* Practice sexual abstinence until marriage.
* Enjoy monogamous sex only in marriage (sexual activity only with a spouse whom
you trust to be faithful).
* Do not use illegal drugs by injection.

Don’t become a victim of AIDS and die at a young age from this infection. YOU’RE
Contact us at 954-707-3274 or email us at