How HIV works: latest news

How HIV works resources

  • HIV lifecycle

    The immune system is the body’s natural defence system.To survive, HIV needs to infect cells in which new viruses can be made.Different anti-HIV drugs target different...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • Viral load

    Effective HIV treatment results in a fall in viral loadAn undetectable viral load is the aim of HIV treatment.People who are taking effective HIV treatment...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • 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
  • 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
  • Better off knowing

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

    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
  • CD4 and viral load

    It’s important for all people with HIV to have regular blood tests. The two most important blood tests are for CD4 and viral load.CD4 and...

    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
  • Primary infection

    Early HIV infection can cause flu-like symptoms.Some HIV tests cannot detect very recent infections.There is more risk of transmitting HIV in the early stages of...

    From: Factsheets

    Information level Level 2
  • 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
  • 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

  • Suboptimal ART adherence associated with greater inflammation in patients with HIV

    Recently published findings indicate that suboptimal adherence to ART is associated with activation of coagulation and enhanced residual inflammation among patients with HIV, even if patients have already achieved virologic suppression.

    07 January 2018 | Healio
  • Four big insights into HIV/AIDS that provide hope of finding a vaccine

    African researchers have been performing cutting-edge research to contribute to addressing the HIV epidemic. The sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence has been at the forefront of this research and has provided some important insights into how the virus spreads as well as the immune mechanisms that enable some people to control the virus without antiretroviral drugs.

    24 November 2017 | The Conversation
  • Role of the Microbiome on HIV Infection, Prevention, and Treatment

    The understanding of the human microbiome continues to grow rapidly. Innumerable projects have been launched worldwide to understand the role that the microbiome plays and its impact on human health. However, information on the role of the microbiome on HIV infection, prevention, and treatment is still limited. Interview with Nichole Klatt, PhD, associate professor in the department of pharmaceutics at University of Washington in Seattle.

    23 November 2017 | Infectious Disease Advisor
  • How the Gut Microbiome Affects Outcomes in HIV

    Gut microbiome alterations have been associated with frailty in older individuals. The journal HIV and Aging has published an article that discusses how aging and HIV affect the gut microbiome, and what impacts these factors have on health.

    14 November 2017 | Specialty Pharmacy Times
  • Scientists map the global spread of HIV – through the Western world and beyond – for the first time

    Scientists have mapped the spread of the HIV virus around the globe after it reached the United States in the early 1970s. Their study finds that HIV travelled from the US to Western Europe on a number of occasions, whereas Central and Eastern Europe remained isolated for the most part of the early epidemic. The study describes the global spread of HIV-1 subtype B, but not of other subtypes.

    15 June 2016 | University of Oxford press release
  • HIV Spreads Through the Body Much Faster Than Previously Thought

    HIV spreads much more rapidly through the body after initial infection than previously believed, apparently causing immediate immune reactions that enable its replication. Publishing their findings in the journal Cell, researchers vaginally exposed 44 rhesus monkeys to SIV, HIV’s simian cousin, and analyzed the animals during the first few days post-infection.

    25 April 2016 | POZ
  • What Is Chronic Inflammation and Why Is It Such a Big Deal for People With HIV?

    A primer on the harms of HIV-related chronic inflammation, what treatments are being researched and what you can do to reduce inflammation and improve your long-term health.

    06 April 2016 | Poz
  • Bacteria in our gut affects HIV—is there a solution?

    Across our bodies colonies of microorganisms flourish. The largest microbiome colony lives in our gastrointestinal tract—our gut—and in healthy people, helps us do things like digest carbohydrates, produce vitamins and prevent harmful pathogens from flourishing. When there’s a disruption to our gut microbiome, problems can arise. Now, researchers are investigating how HIV and the microbiome are linked.

    25 February 2016 | BETA blog
  • Fat Tissue May Be Another Part of HIV Reservoir

    In addition to possibly being a component of the HIV reservoir, fat tissue may also be a source of harmful chronic inflammation among those living with the virus. Publishing their findings in PLOS Pathogens, researchers studied adipose (fat) tissue in both macaque monkeys infected with SIV, HIV’s simian cousin, as well as HIV-positive humans who underwent elective abdominal surgery.

    28 September 2015 | Aidsmeds
  • Infection with multiple HIV-1 variants leads to poorer clinical outcomes

    HIV-1 infection with multiple founder variants points to poorer clinical outcomes than infection with a single variant, according to a paper published today in Nature Medicine. In the study researchers analyzed large sample sets from two important HIV vaccine efficacy trials -- the Step HIV vaccine clinical trial (HVTN 502) and RV144, the landmark vaccine clinical trial conducted in Thailand -- to evaluate whether genetic characteristics of the founder viral populations could influence markers of clinical outcomes.

    01 September 2015 | Eurekalert Inf Dis
More news

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.
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

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.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.