According to UNAIDS (The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS), HIV — the human immunodeficiency virus — is a virus that attacks the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness that puts people at risk of developing life-threatening diseases like cancer and pneumonia.
Unless treated, HIV can develop into AIDS—acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It often takes more than 10 years for HIV to progress to AIDS, and there is no cure or vaccine.
Since 1981, more than 25 million people have died of AIDS, and at the end of 2008, 50 percent of all adults living with HIV worldwide were women (a number that has been steadily climbing since the 1980s).
In order to be infected with HIV, the virus must enter a person's bloodstream.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, see your doctor immediately and ask for an HIV/AIDS blood test.
HIV and AIDS can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic status. However, stigma, discrimination and violation of civil and human rights make socially and economically marginalized groups and populations even more vulnerable to infection.
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