What are HIV and AIDS?
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system (the body’s defense against infection). HIV uses healthy white blood cells to replicate itself, breaking down the immune system and leaving the body more susceptible to illness. Without treatment, most people infected with HIV become less able to fight off germs that we are exposed to every day.
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)is a late stage of HIV infection. An HIV positive person is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system is so weakened that it is no longer able to fight off illness. People with immune deficiency are much more vulnerable to infections such as pneumonia and various forms of cancer. These diseases are called opportunistic infections because they take advantage of the weakened immune system. Ultimately, people do not die from AIDS itself, they die from one or more of these opportunistic infections.
HIV/AIDS Is there a cure?
There is still NO cure or vaccine for HIV or AIDS, and there probably won’t be for quite a few years to come. Once infected, there is no way to get the virus out of your body. However, there are some drugs which help to slow down the damage HIV does to your immune system and therefore slow down the onset of AIDS.