What are HIV and AIDS?


What is HIV?
HIV is the name of Virus. It is called Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is a virus that attacks your immune system.

HIV and AIDS are the same mean?
No. AIDS means Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Over time, your immune system may grow weak and you can become sick with different illnesses. After time, your immune system will no longer be able to defend your body from infections, diseases or cancers that can kill you. This advanced stage of the HIV disease is called AIDS.

What will be going on the person’s body who get HIV?
HIV infects and destroys blood cells that a person’s immune system needs to work. HIV stays in the body for years, destroying blood cells until their immune system is so damaged that they develop AIDS (also known as advanced HIV disease). At this stage, HIV has weakened their immune system to the point that they can no longer fight off certain types of infections that other people can fight. .

If you get HIV, you can die as soon as possible?
If you take medicine which makes your immune system stronger, you can live longer than 10 years or 20 years or more. . Actually it can mean HIV is diabetes chronic symptoms.!!!

Who can get HIV? Shouldn’t we share food with HIV positive?
Studies have shown that HIV is not spread through these types of casual contact such as food utensils, Towels and bedding, Swimming pools, Telephones, Toilet seats and Mosquito bites

There are four HIV risk factors.
– Blood Transfusion 90%
– Babies can be infected by an HIV-positive mother during pregnancy, birth and breast feeding. 40%
– Sexual contact (including oral, anal or vaginal sex) with someone who is HIV positive or whose HIV status is unknown, without the protection of a latex male condom. 1%
-Sharing drug needles or syringes. 0.4%

But the highest percentage of factors is through unprotected sex.

People can know HIV positive as soon as possible getting HIV?
No. Many people have no symptoms of HIV. Some have flu-like symptoms a month or two after getting the virus. These may include fever, headache, tiredness, and enlarged lymph nodes (these are organs of the immune system in the neck and groin). These symptoms usually go away before they are identified as HIV. If you have unprotected sex, you should go to have the test especially in Africa where is the high population of HIV positive.

When was AIDS and HIV first discovered?
HIV appeared in North American in the 1970s. Between 1979 and 1981, health authorities identified that, in certain U.S. neighborhoods, otherwise healthy gay men were developing diseases that only happen when the immune system is weakened. They believed that an infection was causing the disease, which was later named acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). In 1983, researchers Luc Montagnier and Robert Gallo discovered the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

According to some theory, HIV may have come from certain types of monkeys or chimpanzees. There are monkey viruses, called simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) that are closely related to HIV. Some researchers believe that one of those viruses could have turned into HIV and that by hunting and eating chimpanzees, humans may have become infected.

(Swaziland) Kingdom of Swaziland located around the mount

Swaziland is located on the mountain that it is hard to cycle, but enough beautiful. When I heard the name of country, I thought the country might be relative European country. But it is not. There is the king in Swaziland. Is there like the prince in a fairy tale?


18th Feb 2013
Though there are too many crimes in South Africa, I enjoyed so much cycling. Now I am nervous to cross the border of Swaziland. It is not my plan to cross the border today. Anyway here I come. I set up my tent at local’s garage at the late afternoon.

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(Swaziland) Through Volunteer, I want to share my life with them and understand the problem of HIV/AIDS and other thing.

It is said that almost half of population is HIV/AIDS patients in Swaziland. What is going on this beautiful country? I am gonna volunteer for two weeks to share my life with them and know about Africa.

At the second day in Swaziland I met one lady on the road during cycling. Her name is Zoe. She picked me up to her house to let me stay overnight. I told her about what I want to do and she introduced me ‘Hope House’ which is like a sanatorium. She is supporting one of house.
I got the permission from a sister and an international director to volunteer. I have volunteered for two weeks from Monday to Friday and from 8:30 am to 4 pm. It is downhill when I go to Hope House by bicycle. But when I come back home, it is uphill and very hot.
Hope House has 25 houses which are very small that it has a bathroom, a kitchen and three or four beds in one place. Right now over 15 houses are occupied. In the morning I and nurses visit every house. After that time I help small things and I visit some houses. The time is going very fast during staying over there.
From now I want to write my experience about two weeks which I have spent in Hope House. I take the picture of patients before I just finish my volunteering. I get permission from every patient to upload the picture on the internet. I do pixelating them to protect their private. Some of them don’t mind to show their face. Some of them don’t like to be taken the picture so that I don’t have some of picture of patients. I will also use Alphabet to call patient name to protect their private. Alphabet is not relative with their name.

In the first day at Hope House she is my first patient I meet on the picture. I will call her “A” Patient.
I am very shocked to see her, because she is too thin. I only see too thin people on TV. “A” is actually HIV/AIDS patient. She is 23 years old, but her parents were too poor to send her to school. So she only finished grade 5. She has three sisters and one brother. She is the youngest, but her family is too poor.
(In Swaziland students must pay to go to school. The minimum salary for month in Swaziland is around 75 $ (600 E). It seems that there is free education until grade four or five. But after that time students must pay around 500$ (4000 E) per year. The higher their grade is, the more they must pay. How people can pay 500$ per year for education when they can get only 75 $ per month??? Swaziland has King. It seems like it is Communist that they can never change their king and blame or complain about king in Public place. It looks like it will be hard to change their politic that there is too much corruption.)
Actually it is my first time to see HIV/AIDS patient. According to Korean statistics of 2010 there were only 7,656 HIV positive in Korea. It means less than 0.1 percent.
I’ve never faced HIV/AIDS before so that I had been nervous a bit. I’ve heard that I can get HIV through wound. Actually chance of infection is very low, but anyway it is possible that I have to be careful. Through two weeks, I have learnt that they are not much different from other people.
In the picture ‘A’ Patient’s body has gotten worse since ‘A’ Patient got HIV in November 2012.  Though her body is too weak to walk, she minds to use wheelchair, because she doesn’t like being treated weak person.
She can speak a bit English, but we don’t speak much time. I though she doesn’t care about my visiting. The last day she tells me that she enjoyed my visit. It is an unexpected thing.

This time is something different that some people treat me as if I am just ‘tourist’. It is unfair that I’ve volunteered since I was 15 years old. I though she is one of person who though like that way. So when she says that it is glad to know me, I feel happy.
What is the purpose of volunteering? To me, the reason is to share life. (Journal of Swaziland -> http://www.universewithme.com/?p=7594)

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