HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. Viruses such as HIV cannot grow or reproduce on their own, they need to infect the cells of a living organism in order to replicate. The human immune system usually finds and kills viruses fairly quickly, but HIV attacks the immune system itself – the very thing that would normally get rid of a virus. The condition that is referred to as AIDS is caused by HIV damaging the immune system cells until the immune system can no longer fight off other infections that it would usually be able to prevent.
HIV is found in the blood and the sexual fluids of an infected person, and in the breast milk of an infected woman. HIV transmission occurs when a sufficient quantity of these fluids get into someone else’s bloodstream. Today, more tools than ever are available to prevent and combat HIV. Limiting your number of sexual partners, getting tested, never sharing needles, and using condoms correctly and consistently are some ways to aid in HIV prevention. UDOH offers Training Courses and resources to help educate the public about HIV and prevention techniques. For more information, or to contact UDOH, see below.