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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.
AIDS cases have stayed the same among Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. Most Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander women with HIV got it from having unprotected sex with a man. Certain factors can make it hard for some 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: March 01, 2012.
Resources last updated: May 18, 2010.