One way HIV gets into your body is when you have unprotected sex with a person who already has the HIV virus. If you have the HIV virus in your body, it is called being HIV-positive. When people who are HIV-positive cannot fight viruses or infections anymore, they start to get sick more often. When this happens, we say that they have AIDS. It can take many years from the time someone becomes HIV-positive to the time they have AIDS. But it is different for everyone. If an HIV-positive person takes their ARVs every day, and lives a healthy lifestyle, it is unlikely that their HIV will progress to AIDS.

What happens in the body?

Our immune system protects the body against germs and diseases. It also heals the body after sickness or injury. HIV slowly damages the immune system if it gets into a person’s body, which means the HIV-positive person will easily get sick.

HIV attacks CD4 cells. A CD4 cell is a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infection. HIV weakens the immune system by killing these soldier cells allowing the virus to quickly multiply. The body tries to fight back but eventually it struggles to protect itself from infections. Eventually, our immune system is so damaged that we have no resistance against illnesses like TB, common colds, flu and HIV-related c