What Is HIV/AIDS?
What Is HIV?"HIV" stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
Many people also refer to HIV as the "AIDS virus."
How Is the Virus Transmitted?HIV lives in blood and other body fluids that contain blood or white blood cells. People have gotten HIV through:
HIV and AIDS are not transmitted through casual contact (that is, where no blood or body fluids are involved). HIV is what gets passed from person to person. People don't "catch AIDS"; they "become infected with HIV."
What Does an "HIV-Positive" Test Result Mean?A positive test result means your body has been infected by HIV and that you are capable of transmitting it to others. The test did not look for the actual virus itself, but found evidence of it in your blood. There's no way to tell from this result who gave you the virus, how long you've had it, or when it will begin to affect your health. You may see or hear the results called "HIV positive," "HIV+," "HIV-antibody positive," or "seropositive for HIV." These terms all mean the same thing.
People who have been infected with HIV are said to have "HIV disease." While the virus itself is not a disease, it progressively damages the body's immune system. This puts you at risk for developing illnesses you wouldn't otherwise get.
At this time, doctors don't know of any way to rid the body of HIV. There is no cure. Once you've been infected, you have it for life.
This article was provided by HIV Coalition (HIVCO).
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