How HIV works
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that is contracted through bodily fluid during unprotected sex, contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles or from mother to child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. The virus attacks your body’s immune system decreasing its ability to fight off other viruses, infections and bacteria. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. Whilst no cure for HIV currently exists, it can be controlled with proper medical care.
Treatment for HIV is called antiretroviral therapy (ART or ARVs). If someone is HIV positive and is receiving effective treatment, they can have a fairly normal life expectancy and their chances of infecting others are reduced by 96%, which means treatment can also be used as prevention! This is why it’s crucial that we step up the pace and ensure everybody has access to treatment.