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Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome
(HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is spread primarily by unprotected sex (including anal
and oral sex), contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to
child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Some bodily fluids, such as saliva and
tears, do not transmit HIV.
How is HIV spread?
HIV can spread only in certain body fluids from a person infected with HIV:

Pre-seminal fluids
Rectal fluids
Vaginal fluids

The virus is responsible for causing AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Once within the body the HIV infects cells of the immune system that form the bodys
defense system and makes them unable to fight off infections.
The virus enters the immune systems CD4 cells, which protect the body against various
bacteria, viruses and other germs. The CD4 cells are then used to make thousands of
copies of the virus. These copies then leave the CD4 cells, killing them in the process.
As the virus starts to multiply the CD4 cell count thus decreases dramatically. HIV infection
takes nearly 10 years or more to manifest into full blown AIDS case.

Early stage of HIV

Some people may experience a flu-like illness within 2-4 weeks after HIV infection. But
some people may not feel sick during this stage. Flu-like symptoms can include:

Night sweats
Muscle aches
Sore throat
Swollen lymph nodes

Mouth ulcers
Progression to AIDS
If you have HIV and you are not on ART, eventually the virus will weaken your bodys
immune system and you will progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), the
late stage of HIV infection.
Symptoms can include:
Rapid weight loss
Recurring fever or profuse night sweats
Extreme and unexplained tiredness
Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
Sores of the mouth, anus, or genitals
Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth,
nose, or eyelids
Memory loss, depression, and other neurologic disorders.

Anyone can get HIV, but you can take steps to protect yourself from HIV infection.
Get tested and know your partners HIV status. Talk to your partner about HIV testing
and get tested before you have sex.
Have less risky sex. Oral sex is much less risky than anal or vaginal sex. Anal sex is
the most risky type of sex for HIV transmission.
Use condoms. Use a condom correctly every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Read this fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how
to use condoms correctly.
Limit your number of sexual partners. The more partners you have, the more likely
you are to have a partner with HIV whose HIV is not well controlled or to have a partner
with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Both of these factors can increase the risk of
HIV transmission. If you have more than one sexual partner, get tested for HIV regularly.
Get tested and treated for STDs. Insist that your partners get tested and treated too.
Having an STD can increase your risk of becoming infected with HIV or spreading it to
Dont inject drugs. But if you do, use only sterile drug injection equipment and water
and never share your equipment with others.