HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is a virus that causes a weakening of the infected person’s immune system.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, and not everyone who has HIV advances to this stage. People at this stage of HIV disease have badly damaged immune systems, which put them at risk for opportunistic infections (OIs).
Approximately 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today. About 15% of them (1 in 7) are unaware they are infected. In the U.S., HIV is spread mainly by having sex with someone who has HIV, sharing needles and syringes with an infected person (direct blood to blood contact) and from an infected mother to her baby. It is not spread by coughs, sneezes, hugs, kisses, mosquitos, sharing cups or utensils or any other casual contact.
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