HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency virus. It is a lentivirus (a member of the retrovirus family) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections.

About HIV

Scientists discovered the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 1985. Once the virus advances, it eventually turns in to AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome). HIV is a virus that is transmitted from person to person through the exchange of bodily fluids such as blood, semen, breast milk and vaginal secretions. Sexual contact is the most common way to spread HIV AIDS, but it can also be transmitted by the sharing of needles when injecting drugs, or during childbirth and breastfeeding.

As HIV AIDS reproduces, it damages the body's immune system and the body becomes susceptible to illness and infection. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Most of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection. There is no known cure for HIV infection.

The importance of early diagnosis of HIV is extremely important. Over twenty years of HIV and AIDS research has proven that the earlier HIV is diagnosed, the better the prognosis and the likelihood of a long, healthy life. Diagnosing HIV can be done using blood, saliva, or by using cells from the inside of the cheek. Because HIV carries such stigma and prejudices, great care is taken to protect the identity of those individuals that are being tested.

Created by

New Questions for HIV

See All Questions