This page was reviewed or revised on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 1:52 PM
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. AIDS is the advanced stage of the disease caused by a virus called HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
The virus attacks and destroys the body's immune system, its defense against disease. Without protection of the immune system, people with AIDS suffer from fatal infections and cancers.
A person infected with HIV does not look any different and may not have any symptoms for a long time, i.e. 10-15 years.
If you are HIV positive, you can pass the infection on to your baby during pregnancy, at birth or while breastfeeding. About one baby in four born to an HIV positive woman in Canada gets infected with the virus. There are anti-HIV medications that can substantially reduce the chance of passing the virus to the baby. This makes knowing your HIV status very important when planning a pregnancy.
A simple blood test can tell if someone has the AIDS virus (HIV). If the test is negative, it means the person is probably not infected. However, it can take 12-14 weeks for the infection to show on a test. If the test is positive, it means the person has been infected with the virus and could pass the virus on to others.
You have to ask specifically for an HIV test - no one is able to test your blood for HIV without your permission. It is good to know your HIV status so that you can protect others and get proper care and support.
Testing is available at :
Ask your doctor or contact any of the following resources:
In Lambton County:
Community Health Services
Information on transmission, contact tracing and testing.
Telephone: 519 383-8331 ext. 3550 or 3551
AIDS Committee of London
186 King St. Suite 30
London, ON N6A 1C7
Telephone: 519 434-1601 or 1-866-920-1601
Voices of Positive Women
Support and networking for women found to be living with HIV, and for others concerned with the issue.
Telephone: 416 324-8703