Acquired Immune 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.