• HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS.
  • HIV damages a person’s body by destroying specific blood cells, called CD4+ T cells, which are crucial to helping the body fight diseases.
  • AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection, when a person’s immune system is severely damaged and has difficulty fighting diseases and certain cancers. Before the development of certain medications, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Currently, people can live much longer – even decades – with HIV before they develop AIDS.
  • It takes around ten years on average for someone with HIV to develop AIDS. However, this average is based on the person with HIV having a reasonable diet, and someone who is malnourished may well progress from HIV to AIDS more rapidly.
  • Since 1996, the introduction of powerful antiretroviral therapies has dramatically changed the progression time between HIV infection and the development of AIDS. There are also other medical treatments that can prevent or cure some of the illnesses associated with AIDS, though the treatments do not cure AIDS itself. Studies are now underway to determine how long the development of AIDS can be avoided by using these drugs.
- HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles).

- HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives.

- People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. If anyone wants more info, there is great info HERE, HERE and HERE.  You can also go to the CDC website Here.  Help end the stigma. Become educated about HIV/AIDS. Know the facts and SHARE them with others.

We did not have to tell anyone about Luisa's HIV status.  But, we believe God has given us this opportunity to educate others about the precious children like Luisa {and adults too} that are living with HIV and AIDS and help raise awareness and truth instead of ignorance and fear.  We did not want her to grow up thinking she has a 'secret' that she needed to hide.  We did however spend lots of time in prayer before telling 'everyone' because we do realize that once it is 'out there' we can't take it back, and we pray that she will be okay with that decision too.  But, if one day she does not understand why we were open about her status, I will have to tell her that if others had kept silent, we may have never learned the facts about HIV, and may have never even known it was possible to adopt an HIV+ child!!  Some may think it is for our "glory" or that we sacrificed her privacy for a cause.  So be it.  But God knows our hearts and we pray that Luisa will someday realize we spoke up with the hope that we could help to end to the stigma of HIV.