Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

HIV can spread from person to person during anal, vaginal, or less commonly, during oral sex. HIV can also be spread while sharing needles or reusing equipment to inject drugs, tattoo or body pierce. HIV can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

The following body fluids have been proven to spread HIV:

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Vaginal fluid
  • Breast milk
  • Other body fluids containing blood

Over time, HIV attacks and weakens the immune system making infected persons vulnerable to a variety of infections and some cancers. This stage of HIV infection is called AIDS. However, there is no vaccine to prevent HIV infection nor is there a cure. There are treatments that can help persons live longer and healthier.

Download the HIV/AIDS fact sheet


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