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What is AIDS/HIV?
AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is a disease that causes the body to lose its natural protection against infection. Most infected people look healthy and have no signs or symptoms. However, even asymptomatic infected people are able to transmit the virus to others. Some infected people may have symptoms like tiredness, fever, poor appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, night sweat and swollen glands. As the HIV disease progresses with time, the patient will develop more serious illnesses.
How does it spread?
Both men and women can become infected and can give the virus to someone else. HIV is found in the blood, semen and vaginal secretions of infected persons and can be spread in the following ways:
HIV cannot be spread in the following ways:
The most common modes of exposure to HIV are -
How can you prevent it?
How is the disease treated?
People who are infected with HIV can do many things to live healthier and longer lives. First, they must take care of themselves: eat right, get plenty of exercise and sleep and avoid being exposed to airborne and foodborne pathogens.There are also medications that slow the growth of the virus and delay or prevent certain life-threatening conditions. Currently, there is no vaccine or cure for AIDS.
Further information on AIDS/HIV can be gathered from the Department of Health's Virtual AIDS Office website http://www.info.gov.hk/aids.
Last revision date: 10 October 2012