What is HIV?

What is HIV?
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that only affects humans. HIV can eventually lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). AIDS greatly lowers the body’s ability to fight infections. There is no cure for HIV, but there is treatment. Without treatment, the expected lifespan after infection is 9-11 years. An estimated 37 million people are living with HIV worldwide.

How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is only transmitted through 4 body fluids – blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. These fluids can be transferred through sharing needles, unprotected sex, or from mother to child. Sexual transmission is the most common method of infection, which includes anal and oral sex. Always using a condom reduces chances of HIV transmission because many people do not know they are infected.

How does medicine help?
There is no cure for HIV/AIDS at this time, but there are many treatment options. People can live full lives while managing their condition. With medication and a proper diet, HIV positive individuals can live for up to 40 years after diagnosis.

 

For more information about HIV, please visit:

The CDC HIV Fact Sheet

 

Reference: HIV Basics – CDC