HIV is transmitted sexually and causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS. AIDS interferes with the body’s ability to fight infections.
The virus can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. Within a few weeks of HIV infection, flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and fatigue can occur. Then the disease is usually asymptomatic until it progresses to AIDS. AIDS symptoms include weight loss, fever or night sweats, fatigue, and recurrent infections.
No cure exists for AIDS, but strict adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) can dramatically slow the disease progress, prevent secondary infections and complications, and prolong life.
- The disease attacks the immune system, reduces its effectiveness, and creates a higher level of vulnerability to infections that the body would otherwise defeat.
- HIV is tested with a blood test. If the test result is positive, a second test will determine if HIV is also present in the antibodies.