HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. The virus attacks the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight off other infections and disease.
HIV does not always progress to AIDS. But that's a risk if untreated.
AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, is the final stage of HIV infection, at which point the immune system is very weakened and the body is unable to fight off disease. Not all who are infected with HIV will progress to AIDS, however this is a risk if HIV is untreated.
For those using drugs, HIV is mainly spread through contaminated needles or injection paraphernalia including syringes, cookers, and cottons used to prepare or inject drugs. Unsafe sexual practices also put people who use drugs at risk—being under the influence of drugs may lead individuals to engage in risky sex due to impaired judgment, a need for money, or other factors.
While there is no vaccine or cure for HIV/AIDS, there are many effective treatments available for HIV which can help those infected live a normal life and manage the disease.
If you're at risk, get tested regularly.
Those at risk should get tested for HIV regularly so that, if positive, they can begin treatment quickly. This is especially important because most people who are infected with HIV will not show symptoms, and may not even know they are infected.
Hepatitis A, B, and C are diseases or infections that attack the liver.
These illnesses are caused by exposure to bacteria.
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