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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.

People with very advanced HIV infection, whose immune systems have been almost totally destroyed, are said to have AIDS.

Lifelong treatment can keep HIV under control. This means people can live long healthy lives and stop worrying about infecting others.

Last full review: 
14 February 2017
Next full review: 
14 February 2020


HIV and AIDS on a crossword - what are HIV and AIDS?
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 certain 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 currently no cure for HIV and AIDS. Research for a 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!

I'm worried about HIV

Silhouette of young man looking up
Whatever your worries and anxieties about HIV and AIDS, we’re here to help.

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Last updated:
31 March 2017
Last full review:
14 February 2017
Next full review:
14 February 2020