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HIV and the immune system

Roger Pebody

The immune system is the body’s natural defence system. It’s a network of cells, tissues and organs inside the body.

The immune system recognises and fights off pathogens (germs). HIV weakens the immune system, which means that common pathogens can cause infections and illnesses.

HIV treatment strengthens the immune system.

Click here to see our illustrated leaflet giving basic information on the immune system.

This leaflet is also available in Dutch, French, German, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

HIV and the immune system

Published February 2012

Last reviewed February 2012

Next review February 2015

Our information levels explained

  • Short and simple introductions to key HIV topics, sometimes illustrated with pictures.
  • Expands on the previous level, but also written in easy-to-understand plain language.
  • More detailed information, likely to include medical and scientific language.
  • Detailed, comprehensive information, using medical and specialised language.

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this leaflet.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.