HIV means 'human immunodeficiency virus', this is the virus that causes AIDS 'acquired immunodeficiency syndrome'. HIV is a disease that makes it difficult for the body to fight off infectious diseases. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS by infecting and damaging part of the body's defenses against infection.
HIV can be transmitted through direct contact with the blood or body fluid of someone who is infected with the virus. That contact usually comes from sharing needles or by having unprotected sex with an infected person. An infant could get HIV from a mother who is infected. HIV and AIDS can be treated but there are no vaccines or cures for them.
AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, when your body can no longer fight life-threatening infections. With early diagnosis and effective treatment, most people with HIV will not go on to develop AIDS.
Preventing HIV: Anyone who has anal or vaginal sex without a condom or shares needles is at risk of HIV infection. The best way to prevent HIV is to use a condom for sex and to never share needles or other injecting equipment (including syringes, spoons and swabs).
HIV first emerged as a threat to humanity in the early 1980s and more than 35.3 million people worldwide had HIV by 2012. Each year around 1.5 million people die due to HIV/AIDS related illnesses (WHO.org). There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments to enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.
The only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test. If you think you have put yourself at risk of HIV, you should seek medical advice and have a test as soon as recommended. The earlier HIV is detected, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful.
HIV/AIDS Organizations in the United Kingdom - TheBody.com