HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This is the virus known to cause AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). If someone is HIV-positive, it means they have been infected with the virus.
A person infected with HIV does not have AIDS until the virus seriously damages their immune system, making them vulnerable to a range of infections, some of which can lead to death.
HIV is transmitted through body fluids in particular blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk, in fact there are only four ways you can become HIV positive.
In 2005, over 3 million people acquired HIV, which means there are now over 40 million people living with HIV and AIDS. Despite best efforts from governments, non-profit organisations and healthcare practitioners around the world, HIV and AIDS is still having huge global impact.
HIV and AIDS around the World
People living with HIV and AIDS 40.3 million
Adults 38.0 million
Women 17.5 million
Children under 15 2.3 million
New HIV cases in 2005 4.9 million
Adults 4.2 million
Children under 15 700,000
AIDS deaths in 2005 3.1 million
Adults 2.6 million
Children under 15 570,000
Total HIV cases to date 64.3 million
Total AIDS deaths to date 23.1 million
 All figures from UNAIDS AIDS Epidemic Update 2005