It can take many years before an HIV-infected person displays symptoms of the disease.
As with Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus, it is important to understand that individuals with HIV are potentially infectious to others, even though they may have no observable symptoms.
Presently, there is no known cure for HIV. Although the life expectancy for HIV-infected individuals has increased due to recent advances in treatment, the end result of HIV/AIDS is premature death.
HIV cannot reproduce outside the human body. It is not spread by:
All reported cases suggesting new or potentially unknown routes of transmission are thoroughly investigated by state and local health departments with assistance, guidance, and laboratory support from CDC.
Of the three major bloodborne pathogens, hepatitis B virus is the most contagious. Approximately 33% of individuals exposed to hepatitis B virus will become infected. Of those individuals exposed to hepatitis C virus, only about 2% will become infected. Comparatively, human immunodeficiency virus is much less contagious than either form of hepatitis. About 0.33%, or 1 in 300, people exposed to HIV will become infected with the virus. Despite these statistics, every exposure has the potential to transmit bloodborne pathogens and must be considered significant.