What is HIV?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a virus only found in the human population that gradually attacks and destroys the immune system. A person with HIV can develop serious infections and illnesses that a healthy immune system is more able to fight off.
The term AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is sometimes used to describe those in the later or advanced stages of HIV infection. It is when an infected person's immune system is weakened and can no longer prevent certain life-threatening infections and illnesses.
Medication (avaiable free of charge in the UK) can very successfully manage and support a HIV positive person's immune system allowing them to live a near normal life expectancy.