HIV/AIDS, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is a global health concern caused by the HIV virus. HIV attacks the immune system, specifically targeting CD4 cells, which are crucial for the body’s defense against infections and diseases.

Without treatment, HIV can lead to AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, characterized by severe damage to the immune system, leaving individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections and certain cancers.

HIV is primarily transmitted through:

  1. Unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person
  2. Sharing needles and syringes contaminated with HIV-infected blood
  3. Transmission from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding
  4. Accidental exposure to HIV-infected blood (such as through needlestick injuries or transfusions with contaminated blood, though this is rare in areas with strict blood screening protocols)

Prevention efforts include the promotion of safe sex practices, needle exchange programs, antiretroviral treatment for pregnant women living with HIV to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk individuals.

Treatment for HIV involves antiretroviral therapy (ART), which consists of a combination of medications that suppress the replication of the virus, allowing individuals to live longer, healthier lives. However, there is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS. Ongoing research aims to develop more effective treatments and preventive measures, including vaccines.

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