What is HIV & AIDS?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the body’s immune system, making the body more likely to pick up diseases and infections.
HIV infects particular cells, called CD4 cells, that are found in the blood. CD4 cells are responsible for fighting infection. After they become infected, the CD4 cells are slowly destroyed by HIV. Although the body will attempt to produce more CD4 cells in order to fight off disease and infection, it will eventually be unable to produce enough CD4 cells to keep the body healthy, and the immune system will eventually start failing.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a term that is used to describe the late stage of HIV, when there are no longer enough CD4 cells left in the blood to keep the body to fight off disease and infection. At this time, the immune system stops working, and the person who is infected with HIV develops a life-threatening illness such as pneumonia.
The term AIDS was first used by doctors when the exact nature of HIV was not fully understood. However, the term is no longer widely used, because it is too general to describe the many different conditions that can affect somebody with HIV. Specialists now prefer to use the terms advanced or late-stage HIV infection