What is AIDS

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HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a very small germ, called a virus, that you cannot see. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a disease that develops later, after a person has been infected with HIV, the AIDS virus.

A person has AIDS when the immune system gets so weak that it can no longer fight off infections. Often the signs are staying sick with several common illnesses, such as diarrhea or flu. The signs of AIDS may be different in different people. A person with AIDS may also get infections that are rare in people without HIV, like certain cancers or brain infections.

Good nutrition and the right medicines can help the person’s body fight infections caused by AIDS and allow her or him to live longer. But there is no cure for HIV itself.

  • Burns, A. A., Niemann, S., Lovich, R., Maxwell, J., & Shapiro, K. (2014). Where women have no doctor: A health guide for women. Hesperian Foundation.
  • Audiopedia ID: en011003