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It can be very scary to learn that your HIV test is positive, but it’s not a death sentence. The test means that you are infected with the virus that causes AIDS, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Although there is no cure for HIV disease, there are many new treatments that help keep the disease under control.
When you first find out that you have HIV, you’ll need to adjust to this change in your life. Family members or friends might be able to help you, or you could talk with a counselor or social worker.
HIV is a virus that can multiply rapidly in your body. Without treatment, HIV can make your immune system very weak. If this happens, you might get an “opportunistic infection.” Common germs cause these diseases. People with healthy immune systems can be exposed to these germs and not get sick. The same germs can cause serious illnesses in people with weak immune systems.
The first medication for HIV was approved in 1987. Now there are many different drugs that can be used to slow down the HIV virus. Most people with HIV disease can now expect to live healthy lives for many years.