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HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection is a permanent (chronic) viral infection. HIV kills white blood cells that are called CD4 cells. These cells help to control the body's defense system (immune system) and fight infection. If a person does not have enough CD4 cells, he or she can develop infections, cancers, and other health problems.
An infected mother can also pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
Symptoms of this condition usually develop in phases:
Early symptomatic phase
Symptomatic phase: AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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