Tag Archives: prevalence

Frequently Asked Questions about AIDS (Part 1)

HIV/AIDS has caused over 35 million deaths globally since the virus first surfaced. The CDC estimates about 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV/AIDS, and what’s more is that 1 out of 8 of those infected don’t even know it. Because of this, AIDS awareness and screening is vitally important.

What is AIDS?

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the final and most serious stage of HIV infection. When a person contracts the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from another person or a contaminated needle it begins attacking the immune system’s CD4+ cells which renders the body unable to fight off infections. This can open up the person to many dangerous opportunistic infections and diseases (like cancer), which usually happens when AIDS sets in.

How Many HIV Positive People Develop AIDS?

Approximately 50% of those infected with HIV develop AIDS within 10 years. About 75% of HIV-positive people will develop AIDS before the 15-year mark of contracting HIV hits. There is a small percentage of HIV patients who manage to avoid steady immune system decline and can keep HIV in the early and moderate stages for much of their lives.

What is the Prognosis for AIDS?

While there have been excellent advancements in AIDS treatment and medications, there is still no cure so without treatment, AIDS is fatal. However, treatments like antiretroviral medications slow the progression of the disease, allowing AIDS patients to live a much longer and healthier life than ever before. 30 years ago, nearly everyone who contracted HIV/AIDS would be deceased within 5 years.

Does HIV/AIDS have symptoms?

Most people don’t experience symptoms early in the disease, however they may experience more cold symptoms than usual or a sore throat that isn’t attributed to anything else and doesn’t seem to go away. As the disease progresses, a person may experience such symptoms and complications as:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Aches and pains
  • Chronic cough
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Recurrent infections or colds

How is HIV Transmitted?

HIV cannot be contracted by giving an infected person a hug or handshake, or even sharing a drink. HIV can only be transmitted when any of an infected person’s bodily fluids aside from saliva,  (blood, semen, rectal or vaginal fluids or breast milk) comes in contact with:

  • a mucous membrane (found in the rectum, vagina, penis and mouth)
  • an open cut
  • the bloodstream

This can happen during any type of unprotected sex (rarely via oral sex, but it is possible), a blood transfusion, tattoo or injection with an HIV contaminated needle, or it can be passed from the mother to a baby during the birthing process. Very rarely transmission has occurred when an HIV-positive parent with a mouth sore has pre-chewed food for their baby or when an HIV-positive person and an HIV-negative person have engaged in deep kissing where one or both partners have open sores, from being bitten by an HIV-positive person or from skin-to-skin contact where open wounds from both the infected and non-infected person touch.

That concludes part 1, but keep an eye out for Part 2 to find out about prevention and screening next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!


QUIZ – Would You Be Able to Identify Depression?

Depression is a prevalent mental and physical health condition sweeping the nation (and the globe), affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Many people who are depressed do not seek the diagnosis or treatment they may need to help them recover. It is important to be able to recognize the different forms of depression in yourself or a loved one so you can help combat it. Let’s take a look at how well you know depression:


Try to match the appropriate age/gender group with the commonly associated symptoms of depression:

1) May stop taking care of physical appearance, experiences more physical symptoms and stop taking critical medications.

2) May seem irritable and exhibit violent or reckless behavior. May also lose interest in favorite hobbies or job.

3) May develop regular headaches or stomach aches, may seem distant and irritable. May turn to a crutch like the internet.

4) Usually have overwhelming feelings of guilt, hopelessness and low self worth. More likely to overeat and sleep more.

A)Men                          B) Women                          C) Older citizens                                D) Teenagers


5) Depression is a classified as an anxiety disorder.

6) Depression can also manifest itself with physical symptoms and health complaints such as aches and pains, headaches, a bad back and fatigue.

7) There are different types of depression.

8) Almost 7% of the American population struggles with some form of depression.

9) Both someone who is grieving and shortly feels better and someone who intermittently feels “blue” would fall under the category of medically depressed.



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1) C – older citizens often give up essential medications, feel strong physical symptoms and stop taking care of their appearances when depressed.

2) A – men manifest depression differently than women. Often they show more aggression, frustration and anger.

3) D – teenagers who are depressed are more likely to seem distant and irritable, and complain of headaches or routine stomach aches.

4) B – Women tend toward strong feelings of worthlessness, guilt and hopelessness. They are also more likely to overeat and oversleep, as well as experience fatigue.

5) FALSE. While depression does share many traits with anxiety disorders such as GAD, it is classified under the DSM as a mood disorder. However, recent studies have proven that major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder have strong neurological roots as well, which suggests it is either a psychiatric disorder with neurological traits, or vice versa.

6) TRUE. Most people who are depressed will exhibit at least some physical symptoms, as well as diet or weight changes, insomnia and concentration problems.

7) TRUE. There are different types of depressive disorders such as bipolar disorder (depression mixed with bouts of hyperactivity or mania), dysthymia (mild depression that recurs), atypical depression and major depressive disorder.

8) TRUE. According to the ADAA, depression affects over 15 million Americans, or 6.7%.

8) FALSE. Everyone gets “blue” or sad sometimes or grieves over a tragic life event such as a friend dying, however being clinically depressed is more  pervasive than one bout of reactive sadness (unless that sadness fails to pass for months) or simply feeling down every once in a while. Depression is an all-encompassing disorder that affects neurotransmitters in the brain, physical parts of the body and often involves negative feelings that are so intense they feel nearly impossible to battle without help. It is important to know the difference.

Feel free to check out our quizzes on alcohol abuse next. Thanks for visiting DocChat!