Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). AIDS was first recognized in 1981. HIV can be transmitted in many ways, such as vaginal, oral sex, anal sex, blood transfusion, and contaminated hypodermic needles. Both the virus and the disease are often referred to together as HIV/AIDS. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. As a result, some will then develop AIDS. The development of numerous opportunistic infections in an AIDS patient can ultimately lead to death.