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HIV/AIDS in Teens

Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is a virus that weakens and can ultimately destroy the body's ability to fight infection. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, is the most advanced stage of HIV infection when the immune system of the body becomes very weak, and the body has a hard time coping with HIV and other infections.

HIV attacks the immune system, specifically white blood cells called CD4 cells, also known as T-cells. People living with HIV may not look or feel sick for a long time after acquiring the virus. They might not know they are living with HIV. HIV cannot be cured yet, but it can be prevented and treated effectively with as little as one pill a day. If you are living with HIV and are not diagnosed and treated, you are at risk of developing infections and other diseases and certain forms of cancer.

HIV can be passed from person to person, most often through sexual activity or sharing needles. People  living with HIV should take medicine to treat HIV as soon as possible. Taking HIV medicine will help people with HIV to have very low (or "undetectable") virus. People cannot pass HIV through sex when they have undetectable levels of HIV. You might have heard people referring to this as "U = U," which means "Undetectable = Untransmittable."