HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. The virus attacks the body’s immune system, which is your defense against infections.

If not treated, HIV progresses to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).

AIDS is not a virus but a cluster of symptoms or illnesses caused by the HIV virus.

A person is said to have AIDS when their immune system is so weak that they develop certain defining symptoms and illnesses such as tuberculosis or cancer. This is the last stage of HIV, when the infection is very advanced, and if left untreated will lead to death.

An estimated 1 in 5 people living with HIV in Canada are unaware of their HIV infection.

A simple blood test can confirm whether or not someone has HIV, but many people live for years without symptoms and may not know they have been infected.

Having a sexually transmitted infection (STI) may increase your chances of passing on or being infected by HIV.

HIV testing is available to everyone in the NWT.

HIV is now considered a chronic manageable condition.

With the right treatment and support, people with HIV can live long and healthy lives.

For more information on HIV and AIDS in the NWT, please see:

For additional resources on HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, visit: