WiRED Urges HIV Education as HIV Cases Rise



recent New York Times article reported a severe outbreak of HIV and hepatitis due to a surge in injected heroin use in U.S. states including Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. CDC stated that around 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV — and nearly one in seven of those are not aware that they are infected.


As for the international effect of HIV, the World Health Organization estimated that, in 2013, 1.5 million people died from HIV-related causes globally and 35 million people were living with HIV.


What can be done?


WiRED International believes that education is still the best protection from any health danger. People are still ignorant about HIV, thinking, for example, that they can catch the virus from using a drinking fountain or sharing a soda.


What is HIV? HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. The HIV virus attacks a person’s immune system, which is the body’s defense against infection. Once attacked by HIV, the immune system weakens and doesn’t work properly. Someone who is infected with the virus is not only “HIV positive” but will never be otherwise.


AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, and may take years to develop in an HIV-positive person.


HIV is spread through blood, seminal fluid and breast milk. HIV is NOT contracted through air or water, tears, sweat, saliva, or through casual contact like shaking hands or sharing food or drink.


To reduce the risk of getting HIV:

  • Get tested and know your partner’s HIV status
  • Use condoms
  • Limit your number of sexual partners
  • Don’t inject drugs

Early symptoms of HIV include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle pain and fatigue. But because these signs are common to many conditions, the only way to diagnose HIV is to get tested.


HIV treatment does not cure HIV or AIDS, but antiretroviral drugs and other medications can suppress the virus and allow those infected to lead longer and healthier lives.


WiRED has developed a whole series of health education modules on HIV, which are available to view and download at no cost in the WiRED Learning Center. The series covers basic information, living with HIV, caring for someone with AIDS, mother to child transmission, infections and treatments. The series targets grassroots audiences including children, teens and mothers.


The HIV virus remains a constant and critical global threat — let’s all get educated and fight it.


Can you answer these questions on HIV?

1. True or False: Being HIV positive means you have AIDS.

True  False  Presently Unknown 

2. True or False: HIV positive persons who do not have symptoms are still able to transmit the virus to others.

True  False  Presently Unknown 

3. When a person gets infected with HIV, his or her body sees the virus as an invader and begins to produce _______ to fight it.

Antibodies  Antihistamines  Hormones  Antibiotics 


Correct answers will be highlighted in green.



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