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HIV Basics

Positive Health Network’s education programs respond to the urgent need to inform and train individuals, organizations and communities about HIV/AIDS related topics. To request a speaker or more information contact us.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that weakens the immune system. The immune systems of people living with HIV may not allow them to fight off infections as well as people who do not have HIV (who are HIV negative). Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a medical diagnosis that is different from HIV. Without treatment, HIV can progress and cause AIDS. It is the most advanced stage of HIV infection when the damage to a person’s immune system leaves them susceptible to serious illnesses. You can have HIV without knowing it. You may not look or feel sick but you can still pass it on to others. Currently there is no vaccine and no cure for HIV/AIDS.

Only five body fluids can contain enough HIV to infect someone:

HIV can only get passed when one of these fluids from a person with a detectable viral load of HIV gets into the bloodstream of an HIV-negative person—through broken skin, the opening of the penis or the wet linings of the body, such as the vagina, rectum or foreskin.

HIV cannot pass through healthy, unbroken skin.

HIV cannot be transmitted when a person living with HIV has a stable undetectable viral load, even when one of these fluids gets into the bloodstream of an HIV-negative person.

HIV can also be passed:

HIV cannot be passed by:

Looking for more information? Contact our Education Team or Book a training session with us. For additional information about HIV/AIDS in both English and French, please visit the website of Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE) – Canada’s source for HIV and hepatitis C information.

Hepatitis C (or Hep C) is a chronic liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis means “inflammation of the liver”. HCV causes inflammation and scarring of the liver. Hepatitis C is only spread through blood. The blood of a person infected with the hepatitis C virus must enter your blood stream for you to become infected. Currently, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is NOT spread through any other bodily fluids such as:

High Risk:

Low Risk:

No Risk:

Hepatitis C Prevention:

For additional information about hepatitis C in both English and French, please visit – Canada’s source for hepatitis C information.