Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Who Gets HIV?

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HealthWiki > Where There Is No Dentist > Chapter 12: HIV and Care of the Teeth and Gums > Who Gets HIV?


Millions of people all over the world are infected with HIV. If the body is strong, the HIV virus can grow quietly for several years, slowly weakening the immune system before it turns into AIDS. If the body is weak, the diseases of AIDS may develop more quickly.

Both rich and poor people can be infected with HIV, but the sickness is worse for the poor. This is because poor people get more infections, which weaken the body, because they do not have access to:

  • low-cost health care.
  • clean, safe drinking water.
  • good sanitation.
a man speaking.
Most mouth infections are not caused by HIV, but all mouth infections are serious when a person is infected with HIV.
  • enough nutritious food.
  • safe, uncrowded living conditions.


Working to change these conditions is an important part of preventing the spread of HIV and improving the lives of people who have HIV.

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