|Description:||Produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), this digitally-colorized scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image depicts a single, red-colored H9-T cell that had been infected by numerous, spheroid-shaped, mustard-colored human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) particles, which can be seen attached to the cell's surface membrane. Please see the Flickr link below for additional NIAID photomicrographs of various microbes.|
HIV is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life.
HIV is a virus spread through body fluids that affects specific cells of the immune system, called CD4 cells, or T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. When this happens, HIV infection leads to AIDS. Learn more about the stages of HIV and how to tell whether you’re infected.