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About HIV & AIDS

‘HIV’ and ‘AIDS’ are not the same thing. It is important and helpful to understand the difference between them.

HIV is a virus that infects the body and attacks the immune system. If HIV is left untreated it can cause a range of symptoms.

AIDS is used to describe a late stage of HIV infection, when a person’s immune system has been severely damaged by the virus. Taking HIV treatment means most people living with HIV won’t get AIDS.

Testing is the only way to know if you have HIV. Taking treatment helps keep HIV under control, which means people can live long and healthy lives.

Last full review: 
03 July 2020
Next full review: 
03 July 2023
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and leads to AIDS if it isn’t treated.
3D illustration of a virus in the bloodstream
HIV attacks the CD4 cells in the immune system, stopping the body from fighting off illness.
Woman in Malawi testing for HIV
There are three stages of HIV infection, but many people only show symptoms in the final stage.
A scientist placing a slide under a microscope
There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. Research for an HIV vaccine is showing some progress.
word cloud of HIV related terms
CD4 count? Viral load? Window period? They’re not as complicated as they sound!
Silhouette of young man looking up
Whatever your worries and fears about HIV and AIDS, we’re here to help.
Last updated:
03 July 2020
Last full review:
03 July 2020
Next full review:
03 July 2023