ifIknew

ifIknew is a health initiative for young adults that uses a multi media approach, including social media and in person programs, to address the contemporary issues that impact the well-being, self-image, careers, and relationships of people in their 20's and 30's.

If I Knew is a prevention education project that raises awareness about risky behaviors that can profoundly impact lives.

FAQ: How did AIDS really start?

Scientists still are not exactly sure how AIDS began to infect humans.  Most researchers say that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is related to a similar immunodeficiency virus found in monkeys.  There are many different theories about how the virus might have transferred from monkeys to humans (if you're interested in specifics of the origins of HIV, read here).

The first recognized cases of AIDS were diagnosed in the early 1980s among gay men in New York and California and later in injection drug users.  By 1983, infections were reported in American women and children.  It wasn't until the next year that scientists discovered that HIV causes AIDS.  By 1990, about 8 million people were infected.

In the last two decades, scientists have discovered that different drugs can slow down the progression of the disease.  These drugs can be very expensive and patients in poor areas of the world often do not have access to them, but they enable some HIV positive people to live longer today than ever before.  The United Nations estimated that there were 33.3 million people are infected worldwide in 2009.

Still, there is no cure or vaccine, so prevention is the key.  HIV can be spread through sexual transmission, through blood, and from mother to child.  In each case, there are ways to prevent or eliminate HIV risk.  For more on prevention, link to our prevention article.

If you're interested in more, check out this AIDS Timeline link.  For more on prevention, click here.