- The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infects and destroys the function of the immune system, decreasing the immune system’s ability to fight off infections and diseases. The advanced stage of HIV infection is the Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) which is characterized by opportunistic diseases.
- HIV can be transmitted through a number of ways:
- Sexual intercourse, oral sex, or anal sex
- Transfusion of contaminated blood
- Sharing contaminated needles or syringes
- Transmission between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding
- HIV/AIDS is the world’s leading infectious killer. More than 27 million lives have been lost, and an estimated 33.4 million people currently live with HIV/AIDS worldwide.
- The HIV virus can be prevented from spreading in the body using combination antiretroviral therapy (ART)
- The majority of those infected live in low- and middle-income countries, and have limited access to ART and care. WHO worked on expanding treatment for HIV for up to an estimated 15 million people in 2010.