3 ways HIV treatment can help

Protect & improve

your immune system


the chance of
passing HIV to others


a longer and
healthier life

En Español

Help Protect Your Health

If you have HIV, you can take care of yourself. Talk to a healthcare provider. Starting HIV
treatment right away is one of the most important steps you can take. That's because HIV
damages your immune system by raising your viral load and lowering your CD4 count.


When HIV enters the body it damages your immune system by attacking your CD4 cells. These cells help fight infection and disease. But HIV destroys CD4 cells, so you have fewer of them. Fewer CD4 cells—a lower CD4 count—means your body is less able to fight off all kinds of illnesses.

The damage to your immune system can also cause inflammation. Inflammation is your body's normal response when you get sick or injured. Inflammation stops when you get well or when the injury heals.

But when you have HIV, inflammation goes on 24/7. And that can cause heart, liver, and kidney diseases. That is why starting HIV treatment is so important.

HIV damages your immune system by raising your viral load
and lowering your CD4 count
HIV damage to immune system

The damage to your immune system can lead to some infections, certain cancers, and even AIDS. But it does not have to happen.

No cure for HIV

There is no cure for HIV. But HIV treatment can reduce inflammation and the harm HIV does to the immune system.

HIV treatment
has come a long way

HIV medicine

When compared to those first used to
treat HIV, today’s treatments:

  • Are more effective and easier to take
  • Are often between one and three pills per day
  • Have fewer and less severe side effects

If you have any questions or concerns about HIV treatment, talk to your healthcare provider.

A healthier life can
start with treatment

Starting HIV treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis can help stop the virus in your body. Treatment helps lower your viral load. And that can help you:

  • Protect and improve your immune system
  • Fight infections and cancers
  • Stop the virus before it leads to AIDS

Plus, scientific studies show benefits to starting and sticking to treatment as soon as possible. In these studies, some people started treatment right away and some waited. Those who didn't wait had a lower chance of developing AIDS, tuberculosis, and certain cancers.

Take care of your health

The sooner you start treatment and stick to it, the less damage HIV does to your immune system. And that gives you a better chance of living as long as someone without HIV.

Protect Yourself
and the People You Care About

HIV treatment can also work as prevention. It's actually called Treatment as Prevention, or TasP. Here's why it's so important.

Current research shows that sticking to treatment and staying undetectable means there's basically no risk of transmitting HIV through sex.

It's true. You can prevent the spread of HIV by taking your medicine as prescribed. But remember, HIV is still in your body. So stick to treatment, keep using condoms, and practice safer sex. Want to know more? Talk to a healthcare provider.

Talk to a
Healthcare Provider

When you work together, it helps your healthcare provider find the right HIV treatment for you. It also helps the two of you do what is best for your health.

Here's a discussion guide that can
help you get the conversation started.

If You Have Been Diagnosed with HIV

The HIV Answers® site can help you understand and get ready for treatment. Or, if you have already started treatment, you can find clear answers to questions you may still have. All so you can make smarter decisions about protecting your health. You can also download the app to get answers right on your phone.

Not sure where to start? These links can help.

Get more answers

what's next?

These resources can help you
stop the virus.

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