How HIV works
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that is contracted through bodily fluid during sex without a condom, contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles or from mother to child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. The virus attacks the body’s immune system decreasing its ability to fight off other viruses, infections and bacteria. 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. Medication is now so good that it is possible for the level of the virus in the blood to be undetectable and therefore have a 0% chance of being passed on, 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.