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AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is a collection of symptoms that result in severe damage to a person's immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight off diseases and certain cancers. AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection. HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus, and it causes AIDS. HIV damages a person's body by destroying specific blood cells that are crucial to helping the body fight diseases. Untreated, HIV can progress to AIDS.

HIV/AIDS is primarily spread by having unprotected sex or by using or being stuck with a needle used by an infected person. HIV/AIDS can also be passed from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding. It is not spread through casual contact with an infected person or through food, water or by biting insects such as mosquitoes. While medications can dramatically improve the health of people living with HIV/AIDS and slow the progression from HIV infection to AIDS, there is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS infection.

Prevention of HIV/AIDS infection includes getting tested and knowing your own HIV status and that of your partner, avoiding unprotected sex, practicing sexual abstinence or being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner, and not injecting drugs.

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