What is HIV?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV kills specific white blood cells (T cells), which are an important part of our immune systems. Without treatment, HIV gradually destroys the body`s defenses against disease (it takes an average of 8-10 years), leaving it vulnerable to many infections and cancers. But treatment with antiretroviral drugs can slow or stop the harmful effects of retroviruses like HIV, so that many people with HIV are living longer, healthier lives.