How HIV works: latest news

How HIV works resources

  • Health issues

    If you are ‘HIV positive’ this means that you have a virus called HIV in your body. It doesn’t mean that you are ill, or that...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • HIV lifecycle

    HIV is a virus. Viruses are microscopic germs that are unable to reproduce (replicate) by themselves. Instead they need to find and infect a cell...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Viral load

    Viral load is the term used to describe the amount of HIV in a body fluid. Viral load tests measure the amount of HIV in...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • HIV, the basics

    Key facts about HIV, AIDS, transmission, testing and treatment....

    From: Living with HIV

    Information level Level 2
  • Primary infection

    The first few months following infection with HIV are known as primary HIV infection, or acute HIV infection. During this initial stage of HIV infection,...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Very recent infection

    During the first few weeks after becoming infected with HIV, your body's immune system is working out what HIV is and how to get it...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Drug resistance

    It's important to always take your HIV treatment at the right times and in the right amounts. If you don't, HIV may become drug resistant.When...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Myths and facts

    There's a lot of misunderstanding and HIV and AIDS. Not everything you hear about HIV and AIDS is true.Some of the myths are about how...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Transmission facts

    HIV can only be passed on when one person's body fluids get inside another person. HIV can be passed on during sex without a condom,...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Better off knowing

    The sooner you know you have HIV, the sooner you can get the right medical care. If you know you have HIV, you can take...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • HIV and the immune system

    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...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • How treatment works

    HIV treatment helps you stay well by reducing the amount of HIV in your body. All anti-HIV drugs try to prevent HIV infecting new cells,...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • Introduction to HIV and AIDS

    An introduction to HIV and AIDS, including how HIV is transmitted and detected, the history of the epidemic and definitions of disease stages....

    From: HIV treatments directory

    Information level Level 4

How HIV works features

How HIV works in your own words

  • Seroconversion

    I was given my diagnosis over the telephone after spending four days in hospital with meningitis. I now realise it wasn’t meningitis, it was an...

    From: In your own words

How HIV works news from aidsmap

More news

How HIV works news selected from other sources

  • HIV Likely Evolved to Enter Latent State Because This Fuels Survival

    A pair of new studies suggest that HIV evolved to enter into a latent state in order to thrive in the long run, and that the virus itself, and not infected immune cells, controls when replication stops and starts.

    23 hours ago | AIDSMeds
  • Inflammation Persists Despite Very Early HIV Treatment

    Biomarkers of inflammation increase during acute HIV infection and remain elevated despite early suppressive antiretroviral therapy, according to a study presented at CROI 2015, in Seattle, Washington.

    27 February 2015 | The Body Pro
  • An aggressive form of HIV uncovered in Cuba

    Engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners increases the risk of contracting multiple strains of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Once inside a host, these strains can recombine into a new variant of the virus. One such recombinant variant observed in patients in Cuba appears to be much more aggressive than other known forms of HIV. Patients progress to AIDS within three years of infection – so rapidly that they may not even realise they were infected.

    16 February 2015 | KU Leuven press release
  • Small world: Study of HIV subtype’s global spread shows impacts of tourism, migration, policies

    The subtype that comprises 5 percent of HIV-1 infections globally traveled from Africa to Thailand where it was identified in 1989. From there, it spread around the world. Thailand's popularity as a tourist destination, including sex tourism, is one of the reasons.

    23 January 2015 | Science Speaks
  • Is HIV Weakening Over Time?

    There has been an explosion of media stories positing that the virulence of HIV is decreasing and that the virus is evolving into a “milder form." But the study prompting the coverage relies primarily on laboratory measurements of HIV replication capacity, despite the fact that a prior publication—by several of the same authors—reports that results from this test do not predict the rate of CD4 T cell decline over time.

    03 December 2014 | TAG
  • HIV RNA lingers in CSF through up to 10 years of suppressive ART

    HIV RNA remained detectable at low levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of almost 20% of patients who had HIV RNA levels below 40 copies/mL for up to 10 years of antiretroviral therapy (ART). The investigators believe their finding indicates that the central nervous system (CNS) can be an HIV reservoir during suppressive ART.

    28 October 2014 | International AIDS Society
  • How HIV co-opts gut bacteria to pose as a familiar infection

    One of the most effective methods used by HIV to evade control is to hide from the immune system. B-cells are crucial for controlling new infections, producing specific antibodies to attack it, which coat the surface of infected cells and tag them for destruction. But according to a study from Duke Medicine, published in Cell Host & Microbe, when HIV enters and begins replicating in the gut, the reaction of B cells is ineffective because the virus is able to pose as a “good” bacterium. Its gp41 surface protein - which is displayed on the surface of infected cells - looks like surface proteins on the cells of friendly gut bacteria.

    21 August 2014 | The Conversation UK
  • First glimpse of how HIV swamps the gut's immune cells

    We've been given the first glimpse of HIV in attack mode in the gut, shedding light on how the virus hijacks immune cells, multiplies and spreads throughout the body. A team of biochemists have used electron tomography microscopes to capture the high-resolution, 3D images.

    31 January 2014 | New Scientist
  • Discovering where HIV persists in spite of treatment

    Recently discovered T memory stem cells may be long-term viral reservoir, potential targets for future treatment.

    13 January 2014 | Harvard Gazette
  • How HIV Destroys Immune Cells

    HIV leads to AIDS primarily because the virus destroys essential immune cells called CD4 T cells, but precisely how these cells are killed has not been clear. Two papers published simultaneously today (19 December) in Nature and Science reveal the molecular mechanisms that cause the death of most CD4 T cells in lymphoid tissues, the main reservoir for such cells, during infection.

    20 December 2013 | The Scientist
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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.