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What are HIV and AIDS?

HIV- Human Immunodeficiency Virus

HIV attacks the body’s immune system gradually causing damage. Without treatment, the immune system will become too weak to fight off illness and infection.

There is currently no cure for HIV. But major advances in treatment mean that many people can lead long and healthy lives, although some may experience side effects from the treatment.

HIV is present in blood, genital fluids (semen, vaginal fluids and moisture in the rectum) and breast milk.

AIDS- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

AIDS is the term used to describe a stage of HIV infection when the body is too weak to fight off a range of diseases.


You cannot catch AIDS. HIV causes AIDS and it is HIV that can be passed on. Being diagnosed with AIDS means different things for different people.