Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease caused by the Human
Immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus attacks the immune system,
the body’s line of defense against disease and infections. When the
immune system breaks down, one becomes susceptible to serious, often
deadly infections and cancers called “opportunistic infections,” so
named because they take advantage of the body’s weakened defenses.
You Can Prevent HIV
Although HIV infection is completely
preventable, every 9½ minutes, someone in the United States
is infected with the virus. That person could be you—or
someone you know—your brother, sister, father, mother,
friend, co-worker, or neighbor. It is important for everyone
to get the facts, talk about HIV/AIDS with partners and
loved ones, reduce risk behaviors, and get tested to learn
their HIV status.
It's not always
easy, but we all must be willing to talk about sex. To
protect yourself, you need to understand how a person gets
HIV or passes it to someone else. HIV can be passed on when
blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, vaginal fluid, or breast
milk from a person who has HIV enters the body of a person
who does not have HIV.