AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging or destroying the cells of your immune system, HIV interferes with your body's ability to effectively fight off viruses, bacteria, and fungi that cause disease. This makes you more susceptible to certain types of cancers and to opportunistic infections your body would normally resist, such as pneumonia and meningitis. The virus and the infection itself are known as HIV. The term acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is used to mean the later stages of an HIV infection.
You may have read or heard things that are not true about how you get HIV/AIDS. Here are the FACTS:
* You cannot get HIV through casual contact such as shaking hands or hugging a person with HIV/AIDS.
* You cannot get HIV from using a public telephone, drinking fountain, restroom, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, or hot tub.
* You cannot get HIV from sharing a drink.
* You cannot get HIV from being coughed or sneezed on by a person with HIV/AIDS.
* You cannot get HIV from giving blood.
* You cannot get HIV from a mosquito bite.
How HIV is passed ?
HIV is spread through some of the body's fluids. HIV is in:
* vaginal fluids
* breast milk
* some body fluids sometimes handled by health care workers (fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord,
bone joints, and around an unborn baby)
HIV is passed from one person to another by:
* having sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) with a person who has HIV
* sharing needles with a drug user who has HIV
* during pregnancy, birth, or breast-feeding if a mother has HIV
* getting transfusions of blood with HIV, which is rare in the United States