What is HIV?

HIV stands for ‘human immunodeficiency virus’.

HIV is a virus that infects cells of the human immune system and impairs or destroys cell function. This results in the progressive deterioration of the immune system leading to immune deficiency, where the immune system cannot effectively fight infection or disease.

People who are immunodeficient are more susceptible to a wide range of infections, most of which are rare among people with an unimpaired immune system. Infections associated with severe immunodeficiency are known as ‘opportunistic infections’ because they take advantage of a weakened immune system.

See also:

Don't confuse HIV and AIDS