What do I need to know about HIV?

An image of the HIV virusHIV is a virus which can affect anyone. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It attacks the immune system, making it harder for the body to defend against diseases.

AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV, when the immune system is no longer able to protect against diseases and infections. Thanks to effective treatment, very few people develop AIDS these days, and you can recover from AIDS, with treatment.

We now have very effective treatment for HIV. If diagnosed and on treatment, people living with HIV have a normal life expectancy, and lead full and healthy lives. If treatment is effective, the virus can be so well controlled that it is undetectable – which means the person is uninfectious, and cannot pass HIV on to sexual partners or unborn babies.

There are also other effective ways to prevent HIV, including male and female condoms and PrEP. What works for you will depend on you as an individual.