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Condition

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."

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

About HIV AIDS

What is HIV/AIDS?

How common is HIV/AIDS?

How do I know if I have HIV/AIDS?

Does everyone who had HIV get AIDS?

Transmission

Who is most likely to get HIV/AIDS?

How do you get HIV/AIDS?

How can I keep from getting HIV/AIDS?

How can I keep from spreading HIV/AIDS?

Treatment

Can HIV/AIDS be treated? How do I get rid of it?

What can happen if I don't get treatment for HIV/AIDS?

What should I do if I think I have HIV/AIDS?

How do I get tested for HIV/AIDS?

How often should I get tested for HIV/AIDS?

Infectious Diseases Treatment at Children's National Hospital

Our Division of Infectious Diseases is the major referral center for infectious diseases in the Washington, D.C., area, helping thousands of young patients each year with contagious conditions. Discover more about the treatments we offer.

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PATIENT STORY

Molly's Story

Providers Who Treat HIV/AIDS

    Departments that Treat HIV/AIDS

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    Infectious Diseases

    Our Division of Infectious Diseases is the major referral center for infectious diseases in the Washington, D.C., area, helping thousands of patients each year, and actively promoting prevention through community outreach and education.