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Abstract Background

About HIV

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HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus which attacks the immune system - the body's defence against diseases(Fanales-Belasio et al., 2010).  HIV stays in the body for life, but treatment can keep the virus under control and the immune system healthy. Without medication people with HIV can develop AIDS.


AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the most advanced stage of an HIV infection when the immune system can no longer fight infections.

Someone with AIDS has both HIV and at least one of a specific list of 'AIDS-defining' diseases, which include tuberculosis, pneumonia and some types of cancer.  AIDS is life-threatening, but if HIV is caught early and is treated, it will not lead to AIDS. If HIV is caught late, it can lead to more complications and could ultimately lead to AIDS. That is why it is so important to get tested early if you have been at risk of HIV, as it will mean that you can access treatment that will prevent you from ever getting AIDS


Hepatitis (sometimes shortened to hep) is an inflammation of the liver. This large organ is on the right side of your body and has many functions, including turning your food into energy and filtering toxins such as alcohol out of your blood.

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