HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system, making it hard for the body to fight off infection and some diseases. Without treatment, HIV eventually causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Initial HIV symptoms are similar to those of the flu and include fatigue, fever, weight loss, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin. Although there currently is no cure for HIV infection, a combination of medicines called highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, helps keeps the immune system healthy for most people. Treatment can also prevent or delay the development of AIDS.
Last Revised: April 5, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
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