Discovery Date: 1981 at the Pasteur Institute in France
Disease Types: HIV-1 and HIV-2
Transmission Methods: Sexual Contact and Blood Transmissions
Treatment Methods: Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART)
Prevention Methods: Sexual Abstinence or Condoms (safe sex)
23 HIV Facts for Kids
HIV is the popular acronym for two human immunodeficiency viruses.
The HIV viruses uses important cells in the human immune system to reproduce and ultimately destroys them.
An HIV infection becomes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) when CD4+ T cells in the human body drop below a critical level.
Ultimately, a person with HIV that has progressed to AIDS dies from opportunistic infections and cancers that normally would be suppressed by a health human immune system.
A person can be infected with HIV from another person who is already HIV positive.
The primary transmission methods for HIV are unsafe sexual contact and sharing needles.
Vaginal, anal sex without a condom can result in the transmission of HIV.
HIV is the deadliest sexually transmitted disease (STD).
The sharing of needles among drug users is another want HIV is transmitted.
Prior to testing, blood transfusions were a source of HIV infections. Today, blood is tested for HIV before use.
The term HIV is used to refer to two retroviruses in the Lentivirus genus.
The two types of HIV are HIV-1 and HIV-2.
HIV-1 is the most widely distributed of the two, HIV-2 is commonly only found in Africa.
HIV can be treated, but not cured, using antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Proper use of antiretroviral therapy can result in undetectable viral loads if treatment is continued.
In 2019, it was estimated that 38 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS.
In 2019, it was estimated that 1.7 million people would acquire HIV/AIDS.
In 2019, it was estimated that about 690,000 people worldwide died due to HIV/AIDs.
In 2019, around 32.7 million people have died from HIV/AIDS worldwide since the start of the epidemic.
HIV was first discovered in 1983 by French virologists Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier at the Pasteur Institute in France.
Even though virologists discovered HIV/AIDS in 1983, it’s estimated that virus first appeared in the 1920s.
The earliest confirmed HIV-1 sample is from ZR59 that came from a Bantu male in 1959.
Prior to 1987, an HIV/AIDS diagnosis was considered a death sentence. This was due to there being no available treatment for HIV. In 1987, the first treat for HIV became available, it was AZT (zidovudine).