HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It’s a virus that’s passed from person to person through the blood stream. Once HIV is in the blood stream, it begins to attack a person’s immune system and works to kill off healthy immune system cells.
In 2016, 244 people were diagnosed with HIV in New Zealand. This is higher than in 2015 and the highest number since the start of the epidemic in the country.
There are only a few ways HIV can be transmitted. In New Zealand, almost all HIV transmission occurs through unprotected sexual contact. There are very low rates of transmission from direct contact with blood and from mother to baby transmission.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and is an advanced form of HIV. Not everyone that has HIV develops AIDS, largely thanks to advances in medications.