What is HIV?H – HumanThis virus can only infect humans.I – ImmunodeficiencyHIV weakens the immune system by killing the cells that fight disease and infection.V – VirusA virus can only reproduce itself by taking over a cell in the body of its host.Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a lot like other viruses, such as those that cause the common cold. But there is an important difference. Over time, your immune system can clear most viruses from your body, but the human immune system can't fight HIV. We still don’t know the reason for this.We do know that HIV can hide for long periods of time in the cells of your body and that it attacks a key part of your immune system – T-cells or CD4 cells. Your body needs these cells to fight infections and disease, but HIV invades them, uses them to make more copies of itself, and then destroys them.Over time, HIV can destroy so many CD4 cells that your body can't fight infections and diseases anymore. When that happens, HIV infection can lead to AIDS.In India, most opportunistic infections are precipitated by starvation.
What is AIDS?A – AcquiredAIDS is not passed through genes. You acquire AIDS after birth.I – ImmunoYour body's immune system includes all the organs and cells that work to fight off infection or disease.D – DeficiencyYou get AIDS when your immune system is weakened from HIV.S – SyndromeA syndrome is a collection of symptoms and signs of disease. AIDS is a syndrome, rather than a single disease, because it is a complex illness with a wide range of complications and symptoms.People with healthy immune systems can be exposed to certain viruses, bacteria, or parasites and have no reaction to them. If you have HIV/AIDS, you face serious health threats from what are known as opportunistic infections. These infections are called ‘opportunistic’ because they take advantage of a weakened immune system, and can cause devastating illnesses and death.HIV can be controlled by Anti-Retroviral drugs; this is a life-long treatment. But what If you are too weak to travel to a health clinic, or too poor to pay for the drugs? If you live from hand-to-mouth and you regularly take time off to travel a long distance to the nearest medical centre, your children will go hungry. If you are able to get Anti-Retrovirals but cannot afford nutritious food, the drugs are ineffective. This is the reality for people living in poverty, and why Brighter Future is working to help people with HIV.