HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) and can be transmitted during sexual intercourse; by sharing syringes; or perinatally during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Since the first AIDS cases were reported in 1981, HIV/AIDS has been one of humanity’s deadliest and most persistent epidemics. Although extraordinary progress has been made in the fight against new HIV cases and AIDS deaths, the HIV pandemic continues.
HIV attacks the immune system by destroying CD4+ T cells, a type of white blood cell that is vital to fighting off infection. The destruction of these cells can leave people with untreated HIV vulnerable to life-threatening infections and complications. Today, effective anti-HIV medications allow people with HIV to lead long, healthy lives. When taken as prescribed, these daily medications, called antiretroviral therapy (ART), can suppress the amount of virus in the blood to a level so low that it is undetectable by standard tests. People with HIV who maintain a durably undetectable viral load by taking daily ART cannot sexually transmit the virus, a concept known as Undetectable=Untransmittable, or U=U. For those who are HIV-negative, numerous methods of preventing HIV acquisition are available, including pre-exposure prophylaxis ( PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and voluntary adult medical male circumcision… READ MORE