HIV is a virus that gradually weakens the body’s immune system, over a period of up to ten years. AIDS is the late stage of HIV, when a person’s immune system is so weak it can no longer fight off certain infections, such as pneumonia.
Anti-retroviral drugs (known as ARVs) help to combat the virus, enabling people to live longer, healthier lives without their immune systems rapidly declining.
HIV/AIDS is spread through the exchange of body fluids (e.g. through sex, childbirth etc) so it is vital people know their status. Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF)’s HIV projects not only provide ARV treatment and support, but also raise awareness about HIV testing and prevention.