What is HIV?
HIV is a virus that attacks the body's immune system - the body's defence against diseases. Research suggests that between 70 and 90 percent of people may experience symptoms of infection a few days after having been infected.
Three symptoms occurring together: fever, rash and a severe sore throat should always be considered a potential indicator of HIV infection. These symptoms usually disappear within two or three weeks. Other people may not have symptoms to start with.
In all cases, without effective treatment the immune system will eventually become weak and no longer be able to fight off illnesses.
Are HIV and Aids the same?
No. When someone is described as living with HIV, they have the HIV virus in their body. A person is considered to have developed Aids when the immune system is so weak it can no longer fight off a range of diseases with which it would normally cope.
Is there a cure for HIV?
No, but treatment can keep the virus under control and the immune system healthy. People on HIV treatment can live a healthy, active life, although they may experience side effects from the treatment.
What's it like living with HIV?
If people with HIV are diagnosed early and respond to treatment they can be healthy, work and have relationships like anyone else and have a long life expectancy.