HIV = Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Human: This virus only infects humans.
Immunodeficiency: HIV weakens the immune system by destroying cells that fight infection and disease.
Virus: A virus reproduces itself by taking over cells in the body of its host.
AIDS = Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Acquired: AIDS is not genetically inherited from your parents. AIDS is acquired after birth.
Immuno: The immune system includes all the organs and cells that fight infection or disease.
Deficiency: AIDS develops when your immune system is deficient, or not working properly.
Syndrome: AIDS is a syndrome, not a single disease, because it is a complex illness.
HIV is a virus that interferes with the body's ability to fight other disease causing organisms. People with HIV have HIV infection.
As a person's susceptibility to infection and disease progresses due to HIV infection, AIDS can develop. AIDS is a chronic, potentially life-threatening medical condition.
HIV and AIDS together are commonly referred to as HIV/AIDS.
While there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, medication is available to fight HIV infection and control the virus to help those infected live a longer, healthier life and reduce the risk of transmitting it to others.
HIV is found in the bodily fluids (semen and vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk) of an infected person. It is passed from person to person through sexual and blood to blood contact. Pregnant women can pass HIV to their children during pregnancy, during childbirth, and through breastfeeding.
HIV can be transmitted through vaginal, oral and anal sex, blood transfusion, and sharing contaminated hypodermic needles. HIV is not transmitted through kissing, biting, saliva, sweat, tears, or by insects.
For more information about HIV/AIDS, visit the following links: