What is HIV?
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the body’s immune system by destroying the system’s white blood cells, known as T cells. HIV is spread by contact with infected bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. If an individual is already infected, taking a regular dosage of antiretroviral therapy (ART) can reduce the amount of HIV virus in the blood and can reduce the risk of transmission to others. Currently, there is no safe and effective cure, but scientists are working hard to discover and develop one.
What is AIDS?
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the final stage of HIV infection, determined when an individual’s T cell count is below 200. Individuals with AIDS are more likely to develop Opportunistic Infections that often lead to death.
- HIV/AIDS in the Southern US: Trends from 2008-2011 Show a Consistent Disproportionate Epidemic (Southern AIDS Strategy)
- HIV Diagnoses, Prevalence and Outcomes in Nine Southern States (Journal of Community Health, December 2014)
- National HIV/AIDS Strategy
- PrEP Questions and Answers (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS)
- Resources for Gay and Bisexual Men (CDC)
- HIV in Individuals 50 Years and Older (CDC)