HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Over time, HIV destroys the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers by damaging or killing cells of the body's immune system. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), a serious condition that weakens your body’s ability to fight off disease. Being infected with HIV does not necessarily mean you have AIDS. It can take years for AIDS to develop in an HIV-infected person. There is no cure for HIV, but there are many medicines to fight both HIV infection and the infections and cancers that come with it. (more)
An HIV-infected person can pass the virus on to others. HIV is passed from one person to another through blood, semen and vaginal fluids. Anyone who has unprotected sex or shares needles with an infected person can be exposed to HIV. Infected mothers can expose their babies to the virus during pregnancy, childbirth, or while breastfeeding. Anyone who is exposed to the virus may become infected.
You can’t get HIV from mosquitoes or swimming pools. You can’t get HIV by sharing dishes, toilets, or workspace with an infected person. You can’t get HIV by being coughed or sneezed on.
Work to reduce the number of new HIV/AIDS and hepatitis cases in Rhode Island.