HIV / AIDS
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) targets the immune system and weakens people’s defense systems. As the virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, infected individuals gradually become immunodeficient, which results in increased susceptibility to a wide range of infections and diseases that people with healthy immune systems can fight off. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which is defined by the development of certain cancers, infections, or other severe clinical manifestations.
HIV can be transmitted via the exchange of a variety of body fluids from infected individuals, such as blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretions. It is not possible to become infected through ordinary contact such as touching, shaking hands, or sharing food.
HIV infection is diagnosed through a blood test that detects the presence (or absence) of HIV antibodies. There is no cure for HIV infection, however effective treatment with antiretroviral drugs can control the virus so that people with HIV can enjoy a healthy and productive life.