HIV is a virus that attacks the human immune system. There is no cure for HIV. Unlike some other viruses, HIV cannot be cleared from the body but with treatment, people with HIV can suppress their virus and increase healthy CD4 T cells.
The HIV virus attacks and destroys CD4 T cells—important immune system cells that help your body fight infections. The more CD4 T cells that are destroyed, the weaker your immune system can become. With fewer CD4 T cells due to HIV, it can be harder for your body to fight illnesses and infections that can be a consequence of a weakened immune system.
Being HIV positive is not the same as having AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). HIV is a virus that kills CD4 T cells in the body. Over time, if so many CD4 T cells are killed that the body has a reduced ability to fight infection, HIV can advance to AIDS. HIV infection advances to AIDS when there are less than 200 CD4 T cells per millileter of blood. If this happens, it means your immune system has become very weak, and you can quickly become very sick.
HIV is transmitted through contact with certain body fluids, such as semen, vaginal or anal fluid, breast milk, and blood. Contact with these body fluids can occur during unprotected sex or when sharing needles or other items with body fluids on them. Mothers can pass the HIV virus to their babies during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. You CANNOT transmit HIV through contact with sweat, tears, saliva, bath or pool water, or by sharing dishes or drinking glasses, hugging, or shaking hands.
HIV does not have a cure, but if you are living with HIV you can help protect your health by taking HIV medicines. HIV treatment helps lower your viral load and, as a result, helps protect your immune system.
Ask your healthcare provider about other things you can do to help stay healthy, including:
Talk to your healthcare provider about
questions you may have about HIV-1 and AIDS.
STRIBILD can cause serious side effects:
STRIBILD® is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in people 12 years and older and weigh at least 77 pounds. It can either be used in people who are starting HIV-1 treatment and have never taken HIV-1 medicines before, or people who are replacing their current HIV-1 medicines and whose healthcare provider determines that they meet certain requirements. These include having an undetectable viral load (less than 50 copies/mL of virus in their blood) for 6 months or more on their current HIV-1 treatment. STRIBILD combines 4 medicines into 1 pill to be taken once a day with food. STRIBILD is a complete single tablet regimen and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines.
STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses, you must keep taking STRIBILD. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.
The information in this section is intended for residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older.
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