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The following are commonly asked questions about HIV/AIDS:


What is AIDS?

A: AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is a disease that limits the body's ability to fight infection. A person with AIDS has a very weak immune system, turning normally mild or rare diseases into potentially fatal conditions.


What is HIV?

A: HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS.


How can you tell if someone is infected with HIV?

A: Only with a medical test. Blood tests are most common, but new saliva tests are increasingly available. A person can be HIV-infected for many years while looking and feeling healthy, with no signs at all of being sick.


Who is most likely to become infected?

A: Anyone can become infected with HIV. who has sex with a partner who is infected or who shares syringes or needles even just one time. Age makes no difference.


What is unprotected sex?

A: Sex without a latex condom. HIV is found in semen, vaginal fluids and blood. HIV can enter the body through any type of sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal and oral sex.


What about doing drugs?

A: Injecting drugs using a needle that has been used by someone else is risky because it can contain infected blood from that person. Any drug use, including alcohol, affects judgment and can lead contribute to exposure to HIV infection.


What are the ways to prevent or reduce exposure to HIV infection?

A: The primary prevention message for the Muslim community is no intravenous or other drug use and total abstinence before and in-between marriages. Stay away from places where you know people will be using drugs.


What about pregnancy?

A: A pregnant women can help prevent or dramatically reduce the chances of transmitting the virus to an unborn child through specifically prescribed drug treatments during pregnancy. As a measure of protection, it is especially important for pregnant women to be tested for HIV as soon as possible and, if necessary, seek assistance from a physician experienced in treating HIV/AIDS.


What exactly does an HIV test do?

A: Any HIV test checks your blood specimen for HIV-1 antibodies. The body creates antibodies to HIV then an individual becomes infected by the virus. By testing blood for these antibodies, a laboratory can tell if HIV is present.


How soon do these antibodies show up?

A: In most infected people, the antibodies will show up in the blood within six weeks to 3 months. But in some people, it might take up to six months. This is important because the test cannot detect recent infections. For example, if you became infected in January, you may not test positive until June.


So you can test negative and still be infected?

A: Yes, because it takes some time for your body to produce HIV antibodies, there is a period of time when recent infections may not be detected.


How IS HIV Not spread?

A: Current research shows that HIV is not spread through casual contact or through the air. For example, it’s considered safe to:

  1. Sit next to someone at masjids, on the bus, or anywhere.
  2. Touch or shake hands.
  3. Use restrooms, water fountains, or telephones.
  4. Give blood or have a blood test.
  5. Swim in a pool or sit in a hot tob.
  6. Eat in the cafeteria, and even share glasses, plates, forks, and other utensils.

    How does HIV Affects the body?

    1. At first, most people don’t show signs of illness. They look and feel healthy, but they can still pass HIV on to others. Many people go on to develop AIDS but, it may take years for symptoms to appear. Symptoms may include :

    2. Fever and “Night Sweats” that occur again and again.
    3. Rapid weight loss, though the person isn’t on a diet.
    4. Swollen glands in the neck and under the arms.
    5. Loss of appetite and frequent diarrhea.
    6. White spots or unusual blemishes in the mouth.
    7. Constant tiredness.
    8. A person with these symptoms doesn’t necessarily have AIDS, but he or she should see a health-care provider if the symptoms last longer than a week.


    What’s being done to stop AIDS?

    There still no known cure for AIDS or HIV infection. But, researchers are working hard to help people with HIV or AIDS and to prevent the spread of HIV. Antiviral drugs, such as zidovudine (AZT), ddl and ddC help prolong the lives of some patients. Treatment can also help or even prevent some of the infections and other diseases HIV positive people frequently get. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to helping improve the quality of life for people with HIV or AIDS.


    Where can I get more information?

    1. Call the National Muslim AIDS Initiative at: (718)585-8585 .
    2. Call the National AIDS Hotline at 1-800-342-2437
    3. Call the National AIDS Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-458-5231
    4. Call your local health department.

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