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Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the most severe and life threatening form of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). People who are infected with HIV may not have symptoms for many years. The period of time from infection to serious symptoms, that is, the incubation period, seems to average ten years. However, people with HIV can and do transmit the virus to others even if they have no symptoms.

College students are not likely to have obvious symptoms of HIV infection, though, they certainly can be carriers and transmitters of HIV even when they appear to be perfectly healthy. It is important for you as a college student to understand the seriousness of being exposed to HIV. Currently available information clearly suggests all people with HIV infection will develop serious symptoms at some point in the future and will die as a result. There no cures for the HIV infection or for AIDS itself. Therefore your best strategy is prevention.

How is HIV transmitted?

Sexual contact;
needle sharing;
blood transfusions;
accidents in health care; and
mother to infant - women who have HIV can transmit the virus during pregnancy and during the birth process to their babies.

NOTE: HIV is not transmitted by casual contact -- sharing a classroom, residence hall room, cafeteria or recreational facilities doesn’t transmit HIV.

What are symptoms of HIV infection?

Persistent flu-like symptoms, including tiredness, fevers, night sweats, enlargement of the lymph glands, weight loss, persistent diarrhea or sore throat.

What are symptoms of full-blown AIDS?

Serious life-threatening infection such as pneumocystis pneumonia or meningitis;
certain kinds of cancer like Kaposi’s sarcoma, a skin cancer that causes purple lesions on the skin;
symptoms of HIV in the brain, such as loss of memory, disorientation and dementia; and
wasting away from continuous weight loss.


To get more information about HIV and its prevention and HIV testing call the following resources:

Resource Phone
Iona College Health Services (914) 633-2548
Iona College Counseling Center (914) 633-2038
AIDS HOTLINE (212) 807-6655
New Rochelle Health Dept. (914) 813-5000
New York City Health Dept. (212) 447-8200
Greenwich, CT Health Dept. (203) 622-6460

The following national hotline services are also available:

Resource Phone
Centers for Disease Control Hotline (800) CDC-INFO
Spanish-Language Hotline
(7days a week-8am to 2am)
(800) 344-SIDA

For counseling and support groups to deal with your own feelings about a family member who is ill, contact Iona College Counseling Center at (914) 633-2038.

For information about support groups for your family and for the person who is ill, and for information about other resources, call the Gay Men's Health Crisis at (212) 807-6655.