HIV is a virus (human immunodeficiency virus) that can be transmitted through sexual contact. HIV causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV can be transmitted through the seminal or vaginal fluid, blood or breast milk of an HIV positive person. Approximately 40,000 people contract HIV in the United States each year. Once someone is infected with HIV, their immune system can weaken and they may have trouble fighting infections that would not normally make them sick. Once AIDS develops (the third and final stage of HIV), these infections can be life-threatening. HIV cannot be cured but treatment is available.
An untreated HIV infection will lead to death.