What is HIV?

HIV is a virus that breaks down your immune system. Your immune system protects you from harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and malignant cells (cancer cells). If your skin is damaged, for example if you have a cut or a wound, this entrance may happen. The bacteria or viruses that enter your body are made harmless by your immune system. The immune system of a person with HIV who does not use any medication, will become increasingly weak. As a result, the person can eventually develop the disease AIDS. You have AIDS, if your immune system is so weak that you get opportunistic infections. Fortunately, HIV can be treated well nowadays. The latest medication can prevent you from getting sick, but you will have to take it for your whole life. Unfortunately, HIV cannot yet be cured.


If you have HIV and do not take any medication, you will eventually get AIDS. You can contract serious infections with fungi, viruses or bacteria, which people without the HIV infection actually never get. Because your immune system is not working properly, these infections are not easy to treat, leading to people with AIDS eventually dying.

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