HIV is short for "human immunodeficiency virus." AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the final stage of HIV disease, which causes severe damage to the immune system.
HIV is a virus; once it gets into your body, it can make you sick. It does so if you are rich or poor; 14 years old or 70; black or white; gay or straight; married or single. It's what you do, not who you are, that puts you at risk for HIV. You can get HIV through unprotected sex or by sharing needles or other equipment used to inject drugs.
People can have HIV for 10 years or more and never show any symptoms. Other people can get symptoms within a short time after being infected. The only way you can tell if you have HIV is to get an HIV test.
Use a condom every time you have sex, avoid sharing needles and other sharp instruments.
No there is no cure for HIV / AIDS but there are many immune boosters available today on the market. How long will I live with HIV?
If you keep your CD4 count up, keep your viral load down, take your HIV meds properly and live a healthy life, there's no reason to think that your life will be any shorter with HIV than it would have been without it. The latest information on life expectancy for HIVers shows that HIV-positive people who are on treatment can expect to live well into their 60s and beyond and the estimates keep getting closer to those of HIV-negative people as HIV meds become more and more effective.
If you've already tested positive for HIV, then there are tests a doctor can do to see whether your HIV is progressing, and whether it's wise to start taking HIV medications. For most people, if HIV treatment is not started when their doctor recommends it (i.e., when their CD4 count is low or their viral load is high), eventually their immune system will weaken to the point that they may develop life-threatening health problems. If you're newly diagnosed, it can also be incredibly beneficial if you seek out support, get help from your local HIV organization and connect with other HIV-positive people