HIV and AIDS Facts

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a viral infection that impairs the body's immune system and causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Learn more about HIV and AIDS ›

AIDS Prevention Is Still Important

True or false: Now that drugs are available to treat AIDS, this sexually transmitted disease is not much of a threat for most Americans.

The answer is false. AIDS experts worry that too many people believe otherwise, and have become less careful about protecting themselves. Research shows that those who believe new drugs will keep them well if they do become infected with HIV may choose not to practice safe sex. And that is a dangerous choice.

Learn more about the importance of AIDS prevention

Symptoms of HIV/AIDS

The symptoms of HIV/AIDS infection result from the HIV attacking the cells of the body’s immune system. Early in the disease, many people with HIV infection have no symptoms. Some people may experience flu-like symptoms that occur about four to eight weeks after infection. Early symptoms of HIV/AIDS can include:

  • Fatigue

  • Headache

  • Recurring fever

Learn more about symptoms of HIV/AIDS

The Myths and Facts About Donating and Receiving Blood

Many myths are associated with donating and receiving blood, including the threat of catching HIV, hepatitis, and other communicable diseases.

The American Red Cross estimates that less than 5 percent of eligible people donate blood.

Let's dispel some of the myths by examining the facts about donating and receiving blood.

Learn more about donating and receiving blood

AIDS / HIV in Children

HIV causes AIDS. AIDS kills by making a person unable to fight off disease. There is no cure. HIV/AIDS doesn’t just kill older gay men. It can kill you. HIV is passed from person to person. It is passed through body fluids. This includes blood, semen, and vaginal fluid. HIV can be passed from a pregnant mother to her unborn child.

You CAN get HIV from:

  • Having sex with a person who has HIV or AIDS. This includes vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It can be sex with someone of the opposite or same sex.

Find out what every teen should know about HIV and AIDS

Traveling With HIV

For persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, travel can pose some special risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), travel, especially to developing countries, can increase the risk of contracting opportunistic infections. These infections are referred to as opportunistic because a person's weakened immune system gives the infection the opportunity to develop.

Special precautions that should be taken if you are traveling with HIV include the following:

Learn more about traveling with HIV

Your Guide to AIDS


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