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HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS - What is it?

 

 

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a deadly virus that spreads through certain body fluids and attacks the body's immune system. Over time, the HIV virus destroys many cells (specifically CD4 or T cells) that the body later cannot fight off infections and diseases anymore. Untreated HIV reduces the number of these much-needed cells (T cells)  in the body which in return makes it harder for the body to fight off infections and other diseases, such as Tuberculosis.

What is HIV?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a deadly virus that can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) if not treated. Even with treatment, the body cannot completely get rid of the HIV virus. So once you have the HIV virus, you have it for life.

HIV spreads through certain body fluids and attacks the body's immune system. Over time, the HIV virus destroys many cells (specifically CD4 or T cells) that the body later cannot fight off infections and diseases anymore. Untreated HIV reduces the number of these much-needed cells (T cells)  in the body which in return makes it harder for the body to fight off infections and other diseases, such as Tuberculosis.

Currently, no effective cure exists for HIV, but with proper medical care, the virus can be controlled. The medicine used to treat HIV is called Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). If ART is taken as prescribed, the medicine can dramatically prolong the lives of many people who are infected with HIV. It can also keep them healthy and greatly lower their chances of infecting others.

To give you an idea, before ARTs, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a couple of years. But today, if a person is treated with ART before the virus advanced too much can live nearly as long as someone who does not have HIV.

What is AIDS?

THE MOST SEVERE PHASE OF THE HIV INFECTION.

People who have AIDS have such badly damaged immune systems due to HIV that they continuously get an increasing number of severe illnesses as their body can no longer fight off these infections and diseases. These illnesses are better known as opportunistic infections as they take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS.