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HIV infection

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HIV infection
Posted on: March 20 2010, 02:31 pm

BMJ Group

    * Introduction
    * Description
    * Symptoms
    * Incidence
    * What will happen?
    * Treatments

HIV infection

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    * BMJ Group, Thursday 12 November 2009 00.00 GMT
    * Article history

    * What is it?
    * What are the symptoms?
    * How common is it?
    * What will happen to me?
    * How do doctors diagnose it?
    * What treatments work?

HIV stands for 'human immunodeficiency virus'. Most people who have HIV got it by having unprotected sex with an infected person. HIV damages your immune system, so you're more likely to get certain other infections. If this happens, it's called AIDS, which stands for 'acquired immunodeficiency syndrome'.

You may be devastated to find out that you have HIV. But it isn't as bad news as it used to be. Drugs can help control the virus and slow down or stop the damage it causes to the immune system. This helps to prevent the other illnesses that can go with HIV.

There's no cure for HIV infection, and even when taking treatment you can pass on the virus to others. It's a very serious condition and you'll probably need to take powerful medicines for the rest of your life. But many doctors now see it as a chronic (long-term) disease, like diabetes, that can be controlled with drug treatment.

We've brought together the best research about HIV infection and weighed up the evidence about how to treat it. You can use our information to talk to your doctor and decide which treatments are best for you.

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