QWhat is the difference between HIV and AIDS?
HIV is a virus which stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus while AIDS which means Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome and is a condition brought about or caused by the virus HIV. Being infected by HIV can lead to having AIDS. AIDS develops when HIV has caused serious immune damage.
Someone can have HIV without having AIDS and many people live for many years with HIV without ever developing AIDS. But if someone has AIDS then the person has HIV.
QCan you get HIV from saliva or tears?
No, HIV has rarely been found in human saliva and tears. Even thou, only very small amounts of the virus have been found. This may be why there have been no reported cases where the virus was passed through fluids, such as by kissing.
QWhat sexual activities are safe?
- No sexual Intercourse -oral, anal or vaginal (i.e. abstinence)
- Sex between two mutually monogamous, uninfected partners who do not share needles or syringes with anyone
- Kissing and other activities that do not include touching the vagina, penis or rectum.
QWhat is vaginal, oral and anal sex?
Vaginal sex usually means having a man’s penis placed inside a woman’s vagina. Oral sex means one person placing his or her mouth on another person’s genitals (penis, vagina or anus). Anal sex is usually when a man’s penis is placed inside someone else’s anus.
QHow do people get HIV?
People get HIV by contact with body fluids that come from someone who has it. For example, you can get HIV in these ways:
- Oral, vaginal, or anal sex without using a condom.
- Injecting drugs with a needle that has also been used by someone infected with HIV.
- Using the same needle as someone with HIV when you get a tattoo.
QHow do you know if someone has HIV?
The only way to know for sure whether you or someone else has HIV or AIDS is by testing. A person may be positive for HIV but take more than 10 years to develop symptoms.
QI’m a teenager; I’m not at risk of an STI, right?
Wrong. One of every four teenagers will get an STI, even though lots of teenagers think they know how to protect themselves. There are other STIs out there besides HIV and they are on the rise among teens. They include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes genital warts.
QCan you get an STI from a public restroom?
This is not very likely. Most STIs are only transmitted during sexual contact, either by skin to skin contact or through body fluid exchange. Crabs or Public Lice may be transmitted through sexual contact, sleeping on infected bedding, sharing infected clothing and possibly through sitting on an infected toilet seat. However, lice cannot survive away from the human body for longer than 24 hours. So contracting Public Lice from a toilet seat is possible but it’s unlikely.
QCan I get an STI from kissing?
This is possible but not very common. If your partner’s mouth is infected with an SI, then he or she may be able to pass that infection to your mouth during a kiss. Fever blisters and cold sores can be passed through a kiss if your partner is infected and blood-borne infections like HIV or hepatitis B or c can only be passed through kissing if there is the exchange of infected blood.
QHow do I get tested for STDs and where do I go to get tested?
There are many different tests for each of the different STDs. There is not one test that will screen for all STDs. Some STDs are hard to test for if you do not have any symptoms. Some STDs can be tested through simple blood work or a urine test; some can only be tested for through culturing body fluid from the penis, vagina or open sore on the body. If you go in for testing, it is important to ask your health care provider which tests will be done and which will not. Sometimes weeks or months need to pass to give your body enough time to develop antibodies that will show up in a test.
Your local health department, community or family planning clinic, private doctor are all good locations to check out for STD testing. However, not all these places provide adolescent-friendly services, so make sure you go to a place where they attend to adolescents in a non-judgmental manner.
QWhat are the common symptoms of STDs?
STDs can cause physical symptoms like bumps or sores on the skin, itchy discharge, pain or burning during urination (peeing), fever, or symptoms like the flu. But all of these symptoms can be caused by other illnesses that are not sexually transmitted. Some STDs do not cause any symptoms at all. So, you can see how difficult it would be to diagnose a STD just based on symptoms you may be experiencing.
QCan I have an STD and not know it?
Yes! Many STDs can take weeks, months or years before symptoms show. Some people never develop symptoms for some STDs. STDS can still be given to someone else even when a person is not experiencing symptoms.
QCan I get an STI from oral sex?
Yes. During oral sex, there is skin to skin contact and there can be bodily fluid exchange, so it is important to use barrier protection like unlubricated condoms or latex dental dams to protect yourself during oral sex.
QWhere do I get tested?
In Nigeria, most general and specialists’ hospitals have facilities for tests. There are some private laboratories that are very well equipped for tests as well.