I have tried reading about the cause of HIV on the Internet, but everywhere I look tends to state that things like unprotected sex and bad blood transfusions are causes. Instead I view those as ways of transmission, rather than what is causing the disease.

What is the actual cause of HIV?

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    HIV simply is the name of a virus. Do you mean the illness that comes from infection? If so, that is basically a duplicate of Is HIV the cause of AIDS? If you are asking how the virus is infectious to humans, that is a different question. Feb 20, 2016 at 22:36
  • Ok, so if I understand, suppose we quarantine 1000 man and 1000 woman in perfect heath in a building, if the 1000 man have sex with the 1000 woman, i.e. 1000 000 total sexual intercourse, that same for 2000 healthy men who all had sex with each other, this will not produce HIV ? Feb 20, 2016 at 22:57
  • If you start with men and women in perfect health, that is not infected with the virus, no amount of sexual intercourse will "produce" HIV. The virus must be present in one of the people to pass it on. Feb 20, 2016 at 22:59
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    What on earth? That isn't the question you asked at all.
    – Carey Gregory
    Feb 20, 2016 at 23:12
  • @CareyGregory - lol, agreed. That's why I flagged it for unsure of what the OP was asking. Feb 21, 2016 at 0:33

1 Answer 1


HIV is short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, so you're asking what causes the virus. Well, that doesn't make much sense and I don't think that's what you meant to ask. I think what you meant to ask is what causes AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is the disease that is caused by the HIV virus. You are correct that the means of contracting the disease such as unprotected sex is not the actual cause of the disease. That's only the way you become infected with the virus. It is the virus that causes AIDS, not the way you caught the virus in the first place.

A pretty good overview can be found here https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/what-is-hiv-aids/.

  • Thank you, I read it, but it talks first about HIV, then AIDS as the final stage of HIV, then says that HIV PROBABLY was transmitted from chimpanzee, but it still doesn't really answers my question, so my new question is, What caused PRE-Mutated HIV in chimpanzee ? Feb 20, 2016 at 22:00
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    @user1774937 You need to create a new question for that.
    – Carey Gregory
    Feb 20, 2016 at 23:05
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    @user1774937 Looking at your conversation with anongoodnurse above, I'm puzzled how it is you don't t think I answered your question. I gave you nearly the exact same answer she did.
    – Carey Gregory
    Feb 20, 2016 at 23:17

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