HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus that attacks your body’s immune system

If you have HIV and you do not take medicines, your immune system becomes weaker. After a long time without medicines, your body cannot defend itself any more against infections. You then have AIDS. A person with AIDS is unlikely to live as long as a person without it.

Medicines can keep HIV under control but HIV cannot be cured. With HIV medicines someone with HIV can live a normal life.

If you do not strictly follow your treatment, you can pass on HIV to other people, even if you have no symptoms yet.

Man standing. The focus is on the blood vessels.
Detail of a blood vessel with a lot of white blood cells that are protecting the body against infections
Detail of a blood vessel with some HIV virus that attacks the white blood cells
Detail of a blood vessel with a lot of HIV virus and only a few white blood cells left. The body cannot defend itself any more against infections.
Man lying sick in bed: if you have HIV and you do not take medicines during a long time, you get ill.
Man taking HIV medicines: HIV cannot be cured, but can be kept under control.
Detail of a blood vessel: when you take HIV medicines, a bit of HIV virus remains in your blood, but can no longer attack the white blood cells that protect you against infections.
With HIV medicines an HIV-positive person can live a normal life.

Knowing whether you have HIV

Man talking to a health professional

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