Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by a retrovirus known as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which infects cells of the human immune system, destroying or impairing their function.

This disease has no early symptoms but as the infection spreads, the immune system becomes weaker and weaker, and the infected person becomes more vulnerable to diseases.

The highly advanced stage of HIV infection is known as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It can take 10-15 years for an HIV-infected person to develop AIDS; anti-retro-viral drugs can slow down the process even further.

10 Important Facts on HIV/AIDS:

  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infects cells of the immune system.


    • HIV can be transmitted in several ways:
      • unprotected sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal) or oral sex with an infected person
      • transfusions of contaminated blood
      • sharing of contaminated needles, syringes or other sharp instruments
      • transmission between a mother and her baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding

  • 34 million people live with HIV/AIDS worldwide.


  • HIV/AIDS is the world’s leading infectious killer.


  • Combination anti-retro-viral therapy (ART) prevents the HIV virus from multiplying in the body.


  • About 6.65 million HIV-positive people had access to ART in low- and middle-income countries at the end of 2010.


  • An estimated 3.4 million children are living with HIV/AIDS.


  • Mother-to-child-transmission is almost entirely avoidable.


  • HIV is the strongest risk factor for developing active TB disease.


  • There are several ways to prevent HIV transmission:
    •  practice safe sexual behaviors such as using condoms
    • get tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
    • avoid injecting drugs, or if you do, always use new and disposable needles and syringes.
    • ensure that any blood or blood products that you might need are tested for HIV

(Source: WHO)

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