HIV Services, Prevention & Care
HIV is the virus that causes HIV infection. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
HIV is spread through contact with the blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, or breast milk of a person with HIV. In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by having anal or vaginal sex or sharing drug injection equipment with a person who has HIV.
You can't get HIV by shaking hands or hugging a person who has HIV. You also can't get HIV from contact with objects such as dishes, toilet seats, or doorknobs used by a person with HIV. HIV is not spread through the air or in water or by mosquitoes, ticks, or other blood-sucking insects.
What is the treatment for HIV? The treatment for HIV is called antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART involves taking a combination of HIV medicines (called an HIV treatment regimen) every day. ART is recommended for everyone who has HIV. ART can't cure HIV, but HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. ART also reduces the risk of HIV transmission.
How do HIV medicines work? HIV medicines prevent HIV from multiplying (making copies of itself), which reduces the amount of HIV in the body (called the viral load). Having less HIV in the body gives the immune system a chance to recover and produce more CD4 cells. By reducing the amount of HIV in the body, HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
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