HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) destroys the immune system over a long period of time. A person who contracts HIV will eventually develop AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) which allows life-threatening diseases to attack the body. The only way to know if you have HIV is to get a blood test, as there are no symptoms. Once HIV develops into AIDS, symptoms such as pneumonia, extreme weight loss, skin lesions, and vomiting can occur. Once AIDS develops, its victims have only months or a few years to live.
Infection can only occur through sexual activities (oral, anal, and vaginal), or through the sharing of infected needles or syringes. HIV can also be transmitted through blood transfusions or contact with the blood of an infected person. Right now there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are effective treatments to help AIDS patients live longer, healthy and productive lives.