What is HIV and AIDS?

What is HIV and AIDS?

What is HIV and AIDS?

  • HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
  • HIV lives in the blood and other body fluids that contain blood or white blood cells.
  • HIV attacks the "T Cells" which are command cells of the immune system, weakening the body's defense against infection.
  • Left untreated, persons become vulnerable to opportunistic infections which cause illness and can lead to death.

HIV can be transmitted through:

  1. Unprotected sexual intercourse with an HIV-infected person.
  2. Sharing drug injection equipment (needles) or being stuck by needles or sharp objects contaminated with infected blood.
  3. From mother to child during child birth or through breast feeding if the mother is HIV positive
  4. Receiving blood products or transplant organs from an HIV positive donor.  (This is extremely rare in the U.S. because blood products are routinely screened for HIV.)

HIV and AIDS is a Global Pandemic (the U.S. is part of the globe):

Who is hardest hit in the U.S.?

  • People of color, African Americans and Latinos, account for a disproportionate share of HIV infections relative to their population.
  • Women of color are particularly affected. Black women accounted for two thirds of new AIDS cases among women in 2007; Latinas represented 15% and white women, 17%.
  • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men accounted for 53% of new HIV infections in 2006
  • Younger, especially young men of color are at particularly high risk.  Young men between the ages of 13 and 29 accounted for 38%, even higher among young Black men, 52%.

What can we do?  Become an HIV Competent Church:

  • Join UCAN, the UCC's HIV & AIDS Network
  • Provide information, basic HIV 101
  • Know your HIV status
  • Know the HIV epidemic in your community 
  • Use the UCC's HIV Prevention Curriculum: Affirming Persons, Saving Lives
  • Teach comprehensive sexuality education using Our Whole Lives
  • Offer services in collaboration with local agencies for
    - Testing
    - Care
    - Support

What is UCAN Doing?

UCAN's Vision Questions:

  • How can we put ourselves in the best position to provide critical presence at the points of deepest need in response to HIV and AIDS?
  • How can we build meaningful and sustain relationships and participation with UCAN?