For a lot of us, learning about HIV means unlearning. Much of what we once thought about HIV has changed. Get the facts, then get tested. One day, the only thing Vancouverites will need to know about this disease is how we all played our part in ending it.
Fact: HIV doesn’t discriminate.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that affects the immune system. Like all viruses, it doesn’t care who you are, where you live or what you do for a living. Anyone who’s had sex can get HIV. If you’ve had sex, you should get tested.
Fact: You can’t see HIV.
For many people it can take years for a single symptom to develop. 1 in 4 HIV-positive people don’t even know they have it. Not knowing puts their health, and the health of those they love, at risk. The only way to know is to get tested.
Fact: HIV is a treatable disease.
When diagnosed early, HIV is a chronic but treatable disease. People on treatment for HIV can still fall in love, raise families and lead full, happy lives. They rarely pass the disease along, not even to their partners or kids.
Fact: Treated HIV rarely progresses to AIDS.
Without treatment, the HIV virus can lead to AIDS. But HIV-positive people who get tested and treated can live with HIV for decades and never develop AIDS. Today, AIDS infections are incredibly rare in Vancouver. We’ve come a long way in the last three decades. Regular testing could get us to the finish line.