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HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) attacks and destroys a type of white blood cell called a CD4 cell. This cell's main function is to fight infections. When a person's CD4 cell count gets low, they are more susceptible to illnesses.
A person may get HIV when an infected person's body fluids (blood, semen, fluids from the vagina or breast milk) enter his or her bloodstream. The virus can enter the blood through linings in the mouth, anus or sex organs (the penis and vagina), or through broken skin.
The most effective treatment for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) - a combination of several antiretroviral medications that aims to control the amount of virus in your body. While on therapy, your doctor will monitor you CD4+ cell count. Taking your medication as prescribed is crucial to control the infection and prevent its progression and complications.