What is HIV?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Some refer to HIV as the "AIDS virus".
The HIV virus destroys the cells of the immune system that are supposed to be keeping us well: the CD4 cells. HIV attaches itself to a CD4 cell and enters. It makes copies of itself inside the CD4 cell and then goes on to damage and destroy the cell. The new HIV viruses then come out of the CD4 cell and go off to find more cells to invade.
If the number of CD4 cells is reduced, the immune system has fewer cells to help it defend the body from other organisms. This means the body is at greater risk of getting ill. The immune system does try to fight HIV infection. It produces antibodies to do this. But they’re not very effective without the CD4 cells to organize them.
The good news, however, is that research has advanced HIV/AIDS treatments tremendously in the past 30 years since the early days of the epidemic. Anti-HIV drugs can now drastically slow down the attack of the virus on the immune system and render it "undetectable" by even high tech lab tests.
People with HIV/AIDS can now live long, healthy lives!
"HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is different from most other viruses because it attacks the immune system.
There is no cure, however, research has advanced HIV/AIDS treatments greatly since the early days of the epidemic, and HIV drugs can slow down the virus’s attack on the human immune system. People with HIV/AIDS can now live healthier, longer lives."