What is HIV?
HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is the virus that causes AIDS. Someone who is infected with HIV can feel healthy for years, but will carry the virus for life (seropositivity). An untreated HIV infection almost always leads to AIDS eventually.
AIDS is a general name for the complaints that someone can develop after a long - and mostly asymptomatic - infection of HIV. The majority of the HIV infected people that don’t get treated, will develop some form of AIDS later on.
AIDS affects the body’s immune defence so badly, that the patient is eventually unable to fight off any infection, even infections with common pathogens. The symptoms of AIDS can be counteracted quite effectively with medicines nowadays, but the disease itself cannot be treated.
Is your blood safe?
In order to ensure the safety of blood transfusions, Sanquin tests all donations. If the test results are abnormal, the blood is not used. The test is not 100% reliable up to four months after contamination with HIV. Therefore, do not give blood if you may have been at risk for contracting HIV or another blood-borne illness.
There are a number of risk factors for men and risk factors for women that the blood bank takes into account.