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Build-up to World Aids Day 2019 (Part 2) |26 November 2019

HIV course of disease


What is HIV?

HIV is a virus spread through body fluids that affects specific cells of the immune system, called CD4 cells, or T cells.

You need to learn more about the stages of HIV and how to tell whether you’re infected


What Is Aids?

Aids stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Aids is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.

HIV causes Aids by attacking CD4 cells, which the immune system uses to protect the body from disease.


What is the difference between HIV and Aids?.....

The definition of Aids was established before there was effective treatment for HIV. It indicated that a person was at higher risk for illness or death.

However, effective treatment means people can stay healthier with low CD4 counts, and someone who received the Aids diagnosis years ago may not be at higher risk of illness if he/she is on treatment.


You do not have Aids as soon as you are infected with HIV.                      

You can live with HIV (be HIV+) for many years with no signs of disease, or only mild-to-moderate symptoms.

People living with HIV and taking HIV medicines as prescribed have a very low risk of progressing to Aids.

But without treatment, HIV will eventually wear down the immune system in most people to the point that they have low numbers of CD4 cells and develop Opportunistic Infections.


A person is considered as having Aids if …

She/He is living with HIV and has:

At least one Aids-defining condition from the defined list of opportunistic infections (OIs), cancers and conditions


A CD4 cell count of 200 cells or less (normal CD4 count is about 500 - 1,500)


People with Aids can rebuild their immune system with the help of HIV medicines and live a long healthy life.

Even if your CD4 cell count goes back above 200 or an OI is successfully treated, you will still have a diagnosis of Aids. This does not necessarily mean you are sick or will get sick in the future. It is just the way the public health system counts the number of people who have had advanced HIV disease.




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