What is HIV?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus – it is the virus that causes AIDS. (1)

What is AIDS?

AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome – it is the final stage of HIV infection. An AIDS diagnosis indicates that the HIV virus has weakened the body’s immune system to the point that it has difficulty fighting infection. (2)

HIV in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that about 1.1 million persons in the United States are living with HIV or AIDS. According to the CDC, 21% of these persons do not know they are infected with the virus. (3)

How HIV is Transmitted

HIV is primarily found in the blood, semen, breast milk, or vaginal fluid of an infected person. The virus is transmitted in three main ways: (4)

having anal, vaginal, or oral sex with someone infected with HIV
sharing needles or syringes with someone infected with HIV
being exposed to HIV before or during birth or through breastfeeding

Click here to request an appointment to get tested for HIV. It’s free, confidential, and does not require blood to be drawn, as AIDS Alabama utilizes the 20-minute Oraquick test.

(1,2,3,4) – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). HIV/AIDS Basic Information. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/basic/index.htm.