- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
Causes of AIDS
The HIV virus is spread through contact with HIV-infected blood or other body fluids. This includes semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk.
AIDS is caused by the destruction of T cells. The destruction is caused by the HIV virus.
HIV destroys white blood cells vital to the immune system.
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
HIV is spread through:
- Sexual contact with an HIV-infected person, especially intercourse or anal sex
- Transfer of HIV from a mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding
- A prick from an HIV-contaminated needle
- A blood transfusion with HIV-infected blood (rare today, due to testing of all donated blood for HIV infection beginning in 1985)
Rarely, HIV can be spread through:
- Blood from an HIV-infected person getting into an open wound of another person
- Being bitten by someone infected with HIV
- Sharing personal hygiene items with an HIV-infected person (razors, toothbrushes, etc)