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Cause

The HIV infection is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

After HIV is in the body, it starts to destroy CD4+ cells, which are white blood cells that help the body fight infection and disease.

Recommended Related to HIV/AIDS

Advances in HIV Treatment: Understanding ART

Antiretroviral therapy -- or ART -- revolutionized HIV treatment in the past few decades. And newer improvements, like one-pill-a-day drugs, are making life with HIV easier and safer. "HIV really is a chronic disease now," says Brad Hare, MD, medical director of the HIV/AIDS Division at San Francisco General Hospital. "It's like diabetes or high blood pressure." As long as you manage it well, you should expect a long, healthy life.

Read the Advances in HIV Treatment: Understanding ART article > >

HIV is spread when blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from an infected person enter another person's body, usually through sexual contact, from sharing needles when injecting drugs, or from mother to baby during birth.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 16, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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