URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/livingwithhivaids.html

Living with HIV/AIDS

Summary

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It harms your immune system by destroying the white blood cells that fight infection. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is the final stage of infection with HIV. Not everyone with HIV develops AIDS.

Infection with HIV is serious. But thanks to better treatments, people with HIV/AIDS are now living longer, and have a better quality of life. If you have HIV, you can help yourself by

  • Getting medical care as soon as you find out that you have HIV
  • Finding a health care provider has experience in treating HIV/AIDS
  • If are on any medicines, make sure to take them regularly
  • Getting support, such as from support groups, therapists, and social service organizations
  • Learning as much as you can about HIV/AIDS and its treatment
  • Trying to live a healthy lifestyle, including eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep

It is also important to reduce the risk of spreading HIV to other people. You should tell your sex partners that you have HIV, and always use condoms.

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