What is HIV?
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection.
The virus is transmitted through sex; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment; or mother-to-child transmission.
There is currently no effective cure for HIV, but with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled.
If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS.
HIV vs. AIDS
Within 2-4 weeks after HIV infection, about two-thirds of people will have a flu-like illness. This is the body’s natural response to HIV infection.
Symptoms can include: fever, chills, rash, night sweats, muscle aches, sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, or mouth ulcers.
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, but some people may not have any symptoms at all.
HIV IS NOT AIDS.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
This is the late stage of HIV infection. A person only progresses to this stage without HIV treatment.
HIV interferes with the body’s ability to fight certain types of infection and disease that can make you sick (opportunistic infections). These illnesses are the most severe phase of HIV infection. If you develop one or more of these illnesses, you are classified as having AIDS.
It’s all U … getting to undetectable which equals untransmittable. But what does that mean?
When infected with HIV, blood tests can detect the viral load in your system. This is the amount of HIV in your body. The higher the levels, the higher the risk of transmitting HIV.
By taking HIV medications as prescribed, you will lower your viral load (viral suppression) to the point where it is so low that a test can’t detect it – called undetectable. This is a good thing!
While you still have HIV, when your viral load is undetectable, you can’t sexually transmit the virus to anyone else – untransmittable.
This is U=U (undetectable = untransmittable).