HIV, also known as human immunodeficiency virus, can compromise our immune systems after it enters our bodies. If the virus is left untreated, it will continue to spread throughout our bodies, attacking our white blood cells (cells that help protect our immune system). When our white blood cell count falls below a certain threshold, they can no longer help protect our immune system and the HIV virus turns into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). As of 2017, there is no existing cure for AIDS.
However, it is important to remember that it is not inevitable that HIV will lead to AIDS. Testing for HIV, either free or provided at low cost, can detect the virus between two to three weeks after contraction, depending upon which test is administered. Starting the HIV medication, known as antiretroviral treatment (ART), as soon as the virus is detected can keep the virus from spreading, enabling HIV positive individuals to continue living long and healthy lives.
HIV是人類免疫缺乏病毒 (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) 的縮寫，一般簡稱為愛滋病毒。AIDS是後天免疫缺乏症候群 (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) 的縮寫，一般直接音譯為愛滋病。愛滋病毒進入人體之後，會攻擊我們的免疫系統。白血球是人體的衛兵，HIV會損害白血球的功能，讓人體容易被其他病毒或細菌感染。當人體中的白血球數量低於一定的門檻，人體將無法有效的抵抗病菌入侵，此時將會被診斷為愛滋病。目前，愛滋病無法根治，亦沒有有效的疫苗。因此，如何預防愛滋病應為所有人都該關注的議題。