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Facts about HIV

Updated: May 12, 2022

HIV is a virus that breaks down an important part of the immune system. this means that the body finds it difficult to defend itself against diseases and infections.

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system of the person being infected. HIV cannot multiply without help, and therefore HIV places its own genetic material in some of the body's cells. HIV selects a specific type of cell called CD4, which is an important part of our immune system.

HIV breaks down the immune system

Normally, the CD4 cells will make new cells for the immune system, but since HIV places its genetic material in the cell, it will instead produce new HIV, which can invade other CD4 cells. As more and more of the immune system's CD4 cells are busy producing new HIV, there will be fewer cells to alert the immune system.

This means that the immune system is slowly broken down by HIV, and the risk of being affected by serious sequelae is significantly greater.

Fewer people get comorbidities

Some of the comorbidities are due to microorganisms that many people have without noticing it because the microorganisms are kept down by a healthy immune system.

The medical treatment has meant that fewer HIV-infected people get serious sequelae. It has also become possible to prevent or treat several of the comorbidities that were otherwise prevalent among HIV-infected people.


Why is it called HIV? HIV is an abbreviation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

  • Human: means that it attacks humans

  • Immune defect: tells what damage the virus does - namely to destroy the immune system

  • Virus tells what type of "attacker" HIV is, namely a virus and not eg a bacterium

When you are infected with HIV, you are said to be HIV-infected or HIV-positive.

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