Human immunodeficiency virus
infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus
(HIV). Following initial infection a person may not notice any symptoms, or may experience a brief period of influenza-like illness. HIV
causes AIDS and interferes with the body's ability to fight infections. The virus
can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen or vaginal fluids. Within a few weeks of HIV
infection, flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat and fatigue can occur. Then the disease is usually asymptomatic until it progresses to AIDS. AIDS symptoms include weight loss, fever or night sweats, fatigue and recurrent infections. No cure exists for AIDS, but strict adherence to antiretroviral regimens (ARVs) can dramatically slow the disease's progress as well as prevent secondary infections and complications. HIV
kills CD4 cells. Healthy adults generally have a CD4 count of 500 to 1,500 per cubic millimeter. A person with HIV
whose CD4 count falls below 200 per cubic millimeter will be diagnosed with AIDS.