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HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV weakens your body's defense system, which makes it hard for your body to fight off other health problems that it could normally resist. As time goes on, your body becomes less able to fight off diseases.
Asian-Americans tend to have lower HIV rates than other racial/ethnic groups. But their levels of risky behaviors do not appear to be much lower than for other groups. Most Asian-American women with HIV got it from having unprotected sex with a man. Yet certain factors can make it hard for Asian-American women to protect themselves from HIV. They include:
All people should know their HIV status. The only sure way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. That's because you can have HIV and still feel healthy. Once you know your status, you can take steps to protect yourself and stop the spread of HIV:
Another way HIV is spread is from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery. Because many people who are infected with HIV don't know they have it, all newly pregnant women should be tested for HIV as early in the pregnancy as possible, even if they are at low risk. With early prenatal care and treatment, many babies of HIV-positive mothers do not get HIV.
Content last updated: May 18, 2010.