HIV is an acronym for human immunodeficiency virus and it is the disease that often leads to AIDS.
While there are two strains of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2; when most people discuss HIV they are referring to HIV-1. No matter which form of HIV that is contracted, the virus attacks particular white blood cells (T-Cells) which are the foundation for the immune system that allows the body to fight disease.
Unlike other viruses, such as the FLU or Common Cold, the human immune system cannot get rid of the HIV virus from the body. HIV attacks a key part of the immune system – the T-cells. The body has to have these cells to fight infection and disease. HIV invades these cells, uses them to replicate itself, and then destroys them. Over time the immune system becomes so badly damaged, the body cannot fight off infection or disease. When this happens HIV can lead to AIDS.