AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndromea disease that makes it hard for the body to fight off infectious diseases. How does someone become infected? HIV can be spread through any type of unprotected sex oral, vaginal, or anal if one of the partners has the virus.
AIDS Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is a disease that causes the body to lose its natural protection against infection. A person with AIDS is more likely to become ill from infections and unusual types of pneumonia and cancer that healthy persons normally can fight off. HIV is hard to get. However, both men and women can become infected with HIV and can give the virus to someone else. HIV is found in the blood, semen and vaginal secretions of infected persons and can be spread in the following ways:.
A person with HIV can pass the virus on to others even if they do not have any symptoms. People with HIV can pass the virus on more easily in the weeks following infection.
HIV is not passed on easily from one person to another. The virus does not spread through the air like cold and flu viruses.
HIV lives in the blood and in some body fluids. Other body fluids, like saliva, sweat or urine, do not contain enough of the virus to infect another person. HIV infects the immune system, causing progressive damage and eventually making it unable to fight off infections.
The virus attaches itself to immune system cells called CD4 lymphocyte cells, which protect the body against various bacteria, viruses and other germs. Once attached, it enters the CD4 cells and uses it to make thousands of copies of itself. These copies then leave the CD4 cells, killing them in the process.
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This process continues until eventually the of CD4 cells, also called your CD4 count, drops so low that your immune system stops working. last reviewed: 22 April Next review due: 22 April It may also be possible to catch HIV through unprotected oral sex, but the risk is much lower.
The risk is higher if: the person giving oral sex has mouth ulcers, sores or bleeding gums the person receiving oral sex has recently been infected with HIV and has a lot of the virus in their body, or another sexually transmitted infection Who's most at risk? The body fluids that contain enough HIV to infect How we get aids are: semen vaginal fluids, including menstrual blood breast milk blood lining inside the anus Other body fluids, like saliva, sweat or urine, do not contain enough of the How we get aids to infect another person.
The main ways the virus enters the bloodstream are: by injecting into the bloodstream with needles or injecting equipment that's been shared with other people through the thin lining on or inside the anus, vagina and genitals through the thin lining of the mouth and eyes through cuts and sores in the skin HIV is not passed on through: spitting kissing being bitten contact with unbroken, healthy skin being sneezed on sharing baths, towels or cutlery using the same toilets or swimming pools mouth-to-mouth resuscitation contact with animals or insects like mosquitoes How HIV infects the body HIV infects the immune system, causing progressive damage and eventually making it unable to fight off infections.
This process may take up to 10 years, during which time you'll feel and appear well.