What is HIV/AIDS?

What is HIV?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that causes AIDS. When a person is infected with HIV, the virus enters the body and then resides and multiplies primarily in the white blood cells—the immune cells that normally protect us from disease.

What is AIDS?

AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

As HIV grows in an infected person, it damages or kills specific immune cells, weakening the immune system and leaving the person vulnerable to infections and illnesses ranging from pneumonia to cancer.

Only when someone with HIV begins to experience one or more of these conditions or loses a significant amount of immune cells are they diagnosed with AIDS.