September 7, 2017
This article originally appeared on FDA.gov.
What is HIV?
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. A person with HIV is called HIV positive (HIV+).
HIV makes it hard for your body to fight off sickness. There are cells in your blood called ‘CD4 cells’ or ‘T cells’. These cells help protect your body from disease. HIV kills these cells.
How do you get HIV?
HIV is spread through body fluids like blood, semen, or breast milk.
You can get HIV when you:
Have sex with a person who is HIV+ and do not use a condom
Share needles or syringes (drug works) with someone who has HIV
Get blood from a person who has HIV. Now all donated blood is tested for HIV. You can’t get HIV from giving blood.
Most women get HIV from having unprotected sex with men. Always use a condom every time you have sex.
You can’t get HIV from shaking hands, kissing, or sharing household items like forks or glasses with someone who has HIV.