Do I have AIDS? HIV and AIDS are not the same thing. HIV attacks the immune system, which is the body’s defence against disease. If you have HIV and it severely damages your immune system you may develop physical ailments such as pneumonia or Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It’s the presence of conditions such as those that are used to diagnose someone as having AIDS. In the 1980s and early 1990s before treatments were available, the term AIDS was used frequently but the effectiveness of new treatments means that very few people living with HIV in Scotland go on to develop AIDS anymore.