HIV Basics

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The HIV virus destroys the body’s ability to fight off infection and can eventually lead to AIDS. To date, there is no cure for HIV. If unidentified and untreated, HIV can be fatal.

HIV Basics: Learn the facts about HIV, how the disease progresses, and basic information on how to prevent HIV.

For more information about HIV, visit these other websites.


Test and treat is a powerful prevention intervention and routine HIV screening plays a key role in diagnosing persons unaware of their HIV infection. Early diagnosis and treatment for HIV reduces the risk of transmission by 96 percent and if patients are maintained in care will improve health outcomes.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a powerful HIV prevention option for people who are at high risk of getting HIV. When combined with condoms and other prevention methods, PrEP provides even greater protection than when used alone. But people who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day and seeing their health care provider for follow-up every 3 months.

Prevention Resources:


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Approximately 18,000 Texans are unaware of their HIV infection.

Knowledge is power. Learning one’s positive serostatus is the first step for newly diagnosed HIV patients to get linked to care and treated early in the disease process with the potential to have a nearly normal lifespan.
- C. Everett Koop, Former Surgeon General of the United States

Last updated May 24, 2021