The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that causes the body’s immune system to break down. Your immune system fights off illness and infection and is very important for a healthy body.
Once HIV is present in the body, it attacks important white blood cells in your immune system called lymphocytes, or T-cells. T-cells identify and destroy invading organisms in the body. Once attached to the T-cell, HIV replicates and destroys the cell. When your body is deprived of enough T-cells, it can become very sick from infections that a healthy person’s immune system would normally fight off, such as colds, flu and other viruses.
Next Page: What Is AIDS?