Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is a retrovirus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) , a condition in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections. Infection with HIV occurs by the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or breast milk. Within these body fluids HIV is present as both free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells. The three major routes of transmission are sexual intercourse, contaminated needles and transmission from an infected mother to her baby at birth or through breast milk.
The Act against AIDS campaign states that every nine and a half minutes, someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV. This campaign seeks to spark awareness about this deadly disease and to teach citizens how to prevent infection.
You may wish to locate an HIV/AIDS testing site near you .
For more information on HIV/AIDS, please visit the following links:
- AIDS.gov Blog
- HIV/AIDS Bureau
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - HIV/AIDS Prevention
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) - AIDS Info
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Vital Facts about HIV Home Test Kits
- Quick Guide to Healthy Living - HIV and STDs
Free HIV/AIDS publications are available on the CDC's website.
You may contact the CDC's general information line at 1.800.CDC.INFO (1.800.232.4636). TTY users may dial 1.888.232.6348.
Please note: On October 30, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 , which will lift the ban on allowing people infected with the HIV virus into the United States after January 1, 2010. Currently, under section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) , people with HIV are ineligible for visas or admission to the United States unless specifically admitted for medical treatment, or are otherwise granted a waiver of ineligibility. For more information, please consult the list of ineligibility factors published by the Department of State (DOS) for more information.
HIV/AIDS Health Observances:
- March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day , designated to raise awareness of the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls and encourage women and girls to take action.
- May 18 is HIV Vaccine Awareness Day , set aside to recognize and thank the many individuals who are working together to find a safe and effective HIV vaccine.
- June 27 is National HIV Testing Day , an opportunity for people nationwide to learn their HIV status and to gain knowledge to take control of their health and their lives.
- December 1 is World AIDS Day , designated to raise awareness and focus attention on the global AIDS epidemic.