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What Is AIDS AIDS is short for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome It is a serious condition in which the bodys defences against some illnesses are broken down People with AIDS develop many different kinds of disease which the body would usually fight off quite easily What Causes AIDS There is clear evidence that AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV which is short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus If a person becomes infected with HIV does that mean they have AIDS No HIV is an unusual virus because a person can be infected with it for many years and yet appear to be perfectly healthy But the virus gradually multiplies inside the body and eventually destroys the bodys ability to fight off illnesses It is still not certain that everyone with HIV infection will get AIDS It seems likely that most people with HIV will develop serious problems with their health But this may be after many years A person with HIV may not know they are infected but can pass the virus on to other people How Could I Become Infected With HIV The two main ways in which a young person can become infected with HIV are Sexual intercourse with an infected partner And by injecting drugs using a needle or syringe which has already been used by someone who is infected HIV can be passed on in both ways because the virus is present in the sexual fluids and blood of infected people If infected blood or sexual fluid gets into your blood then you will become infected If a man with HIV has vaginal intercourse without a condom infected fluid could pass into the womans blood stream through a tiny cut or sore inside her body This can be so small that you dont know about it If a couple have anal intercourse the risk of infection
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