What Is HIV/AIDS?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. The 3 most common ways people get HIV are by:
- Having unprotected sex with someone infected with HIV
- Sharing needles with someone infected with HIV
- Having their mother spread HIV to them during pregnancy, at birth, or through breastfeeding
HIV is a serious condition that can affect your health and create challenges. So, it is very important that you get and take proper care. A positive attitude is helpful when dealing with HIV.
If you have HIV, you can lose cells that help protect your body from infection. These cells are called CD4+ cells or T cells. When your body loses too many CD4+ cells, your immune system is weakened. When this happens, your body has a very hard time fighting off illnesses.
The difference between HIV and AIDS
HIV is the cause of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). HIV becomes AIDS when a person’s immune system has too few CD4+ cells or when a person gets an illness that is specifically related to AIDS. By this point, the body has become so weakened that it can no longer fight infections effectively. Right now there is no cure for HIV or AIDS.
Talk to your healthcare professional to learn more about HIV and AIDS.