Basics of HIV/AIDS

The Updated Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Spanish HIV/AIDS Website

The updated Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Spanish HIV/AIDS website is now available. Spanish-speaking users may access a wide-array of information including the CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) resources. Users are encouraged to check the website regularly for news and updates, as more fact sheets, consumer Q & As, and other resources become available in Spanish.

Visit the updated CDC Spanish HIV/AIDS website here.

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Basics of HIV/AIDS


We have a lot of great books and other materials in the library that folks can use to familiarize themselves with the basics of HIV/AIDS.  Here are just some highlights of the collection.

These books introduce the epidemic without requiring medical background:

  • The Insider Story on AIDS: Experts Answer Your Questions (written as an accessible Q&A)
  • HIV/AIDS: A Very Short Introduction
  • AIDS Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information about AIDS and HIV Infection
  • Encyclopedic Dictionary of AIDS-Related Terminology
  • AIDS: Opposing Viewpoints
  • AIDS in the Twenty-First Century: Disease and Globalization
  • The Epidemic: A Global History of AIDS
  • Living Proof: Courage in the Face of AIDS (photographs of PWAs, which is not an HIV 101 text, but which could provide a nice humanizing portrait to someone who knows little about the epidemic).

We have videos like:

  • AIDS in America: The Crisis Continues – an episode of the A&E show Investigative Reports (50 minutes)
  • AIDS and HIV Answers – a video of an African-American female medical student discussing HIV research (64 minutes)
  • Actualizaciones Sobre el SIDA: Los Hechos Comprobados – basics about transmission, treatment, and testing, in Spanish (28 minutes)

We also have take-away pamphlets such as:

  • What Everyone Should Know About HIV Testing
  • What People Over 50 Need to Know About HIV & AIDS
  • Teens Talk about HIV & AIDS


For a short intro, see one of the following:

  •’s factsheets on What is AIDS?,
  • Gay Men’s Health Crisis’s HIV/AIDS Basics
  • The Journal of the American Medical Association’s HIV Infection: The Basics
  • Positively Aware’s HIV 101 issue (page 24 is a one-page printable 101 – the rest of the issue also includes intros to OIs, to getting access to treatment, etc.)

For more detail, but still the sort of thing that can be read in one sitting by someone with no prior knowledge, see any of the following:


For brief introductions to transmission and the prevention thereof, see

For FAQs on testing see:

For an introduction aimed at youth see MTV’s About HIV/AIDS page (available as a 2-page PDF here).  For younger children, see’s introduction to HIV and AIDS.

For an introduction to the epidemic in the US, see the Kaiser Family Foundation’s The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in the United States.

For introductions to the epidemic amongst specific populations, see UCSF’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies’s HIV Prevention Facsheets

For the official legal definitions of HIV and AIDS, see the CDC’s Case Definition of AIDS. For a more reader-friendly version of this, with a list of the opportunistic infections that can define AIDS, see’s webpage on Opportunistic Infections.


For short intro videos, see:

For a self-paced multimedia tutorial, see the National Library of Medicine’s HIV and AIDS.

For movies and interactive tutorials aimed at youth, see the website of BrainPOP (requires registration), or see the “webisodes” at the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Drugs + HIV > Learn the Link series.

For short quizzes about HIV Basics, see:

For a long-ish but very interesting intro to the epidemic in the US, see the Kaiser Family Foundation’s narrated slideshow Understanding HIV/AIDS Surveillance Data.

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