Fact 1: AIDS first became widespread and known in the 1980s.  The Soviet Union (as it then was) immediately tried to use it in its propaganda campaign in the Cold War. The Soviets started a programme of mass misinformation and informed their citizens that the USA  had intentionally created the HIV virus to harm their enemies. Of course this is not the truth behind HIV/ AIDS, but to this day many people in the former Soviet states believe that the USA is the origin of HIV.

Fact 2: There is still no cure for HIV/ AIDS, but pharmaceutical companies are working hard to develop a cure and vaccines against the virus.

Fact 3: HIV and AIDS are not the same thing, but they are interrelated. HIV is the strand of virus that causes the disease and AIDS is the fourth and final stage of the disease that can lead to death. There are also 2 different types of HIV viruses: HIV I and HIV II. The former is more infectious, while the latter has a lower infection rate.

Fact 4: The Sub-Saharan region of Africa has the largest population of HIV infected people, and is the most common place to be infected with HIV II. The numbers of people who are HIV positive are estimated to be between 21.6 and 27.4 million people and of the 2 to 3 million are children under the age of 15.  In many countries, HIV is an epidemic with those who are HIV positive protected by anti-discrimination laws in the workplace.

Fact 5: HIV is not transmitted by any and all fluid contact. The fluid has to be produced by the body, and the virus dies very quickly when outside the body.  There is a lot of misinformation about how HIV is transmitted: HIV can be transmitted by blood, vaginal fluid, cum and from mother to child during pregnancy.  There is a low risk of it being passed on in saliva.

Fact 6: 95% of the world’s HIV positive people live in the world’s poorest countries, so there may be a correlation between poverty, lack of education, developing countries and the contraction of the disease.

Fact 7: Over the last few years, some people have been found to be immune to HIV and have been able to fight off the virus. This immunity has been traced to a human immune cell called the CD8+T. These cells attack and inject poison into any HIV-infected cells they find. Now that scientists are aware of this, they hope to understand how this process works and create a usable HIV vaccine.

Fact 8: When it comes to finding the cure to HIV, cats are leading the way. Cats suffer from FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), for which there is already an effective vaccine.  This medicine could help develop a vaccine for humans.

Fact 9: The HIV virus itself has a unique structure that makes it easy to attack the bodies immune system and difficult to kill. HIV is a mutant supervirus, as it has a very fast replication system that helps it mutate faster. This makes it easier for the virus to become immune to antiretrovirals, which are the drugs used to keep the condition under control.

Fact 10: Every minute, 11 people are infected with HIV across the world; women are eight times more likely than men to contract HIV through sexual intercourse.

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