The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the body’s immune system. Once you have HIV, you have it for life. We know that HIV can hide for long periods of time in the cells of your body and that it attacks a key part of your immune system, the T-cell. You body uses these cells to fight infections and diseases. Not everyone who has HIV progresses to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
With proper treatment called “antiretroviral therapy”, you can keep the level of HIV virus in your body low. This involves taking medicine every day. The HIV medicines can control the virus so that you can live a longer, healthier life and reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others. Today, a person who is diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is far advanced can have a nearly normal life expectancy. The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested.