The most serious sexually transmitted infection is caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). HIV attacks our immune system weakening our defenses.

It is not possible to detect HIV with the naked eye. In the first years there are usually no symptoms of the infection, so it is not possible to detect it until you have an HIV blood test.

If adequate treatment is not followed, HIV can reach the stage of AIDS and can cause death. But before reaching that point, it is good to know that today there are treatments available that allow you to lead healthy lives.

What is HIV?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) attacks the immune system, our body's natural defenses against diseases. This virus destroys CD4 cells that fight infections. Without treatment, HIV can gradually destroy our defense system and progress to AIDS.

What is AIDS?

AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is the last stage of HIV infection. People living with AIDS have so damaged immune systems that they have an increasing number of serious diseases, called opportunistic infections.

Where did HIV come from?

Scientists have identified a type of chimpanzee in Central Africa as the source of HIV infection in humans. There is a likelihood that the immunodeficiency virus in chimpanzees was transmitted to humans and mutated to HIV, when humans came in contact with infected blood. Studies show that HIV could have passed from apes to humans since the late nineteenth century. In a matter of decades the virus spread slowly throughout Africa and then to other parts of the world. We know that the virus has existed in the United States since at least 1980.