HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS if not treated.
It's spread through certain body fluids, and once you get it, you can't get rid of it.
According to CDC, HIV is mainly spread through:
- anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. For the HIV-negative partner, receptive anal sex (bottoming) is the highest-risk sexual behavior, but you can also get HIV from insertive anal sex (topping).
- shared needles or syringes, rinse water, or other equipment (works) used to prepare drugs for injection with someone who has HIV.
Less commonly, HIV may be spread from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.
It's NOT spread through air, water, saliva, sweat, tears, closed-mouth kissing, insects or pets, shared toilets, foods or drinks.