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What is AIDS?

AIDS stands for ‘Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome’ and describes the collection of symptoms and infections associated with acquired deficiency of the immune system. Infection with HIV has been established as the underlying cause of AIDS. The level of HIV in the body and the appearance of certain infections are used as indicators that HIV infection has progressed to AIDS.

Absolute or partial failure of the immune system, developing after birth.
Age, Gender, Genetics, Lifestyle: Risk factors depend on the cause

Immunodeficiency is the term used for failure of the immune system to com-bat infections effectively. As a result of immunodeficiency, infections forms more frequently than normal and are greater threat to health. Infections that would not normally seriously affect a healthy person may be a threat to like to someone with immunodeficiency. They include viral infections, like shingles and chickenpox, both of which are caused by herpes zoster and cause only mild illnesses if the immune system is usual.

Immunodeficiency might be present from birth, in which case it is often hereditary. More commonly, the deficiency in a person’s immune system develops later in life, and in this type of cases the condition is given the name acquired immunodeficiency.

AIDS is the late stage of infection with the HIV (Human Immuno–deficiency Virus) and can take around 7 to 10 years to develop after infection with HIV. HIV is transmitted through semen and vaginal fluids, infected blood and blood products, infected mother to her baby before birth, during birth or through breast milk.

A person who is HIV positive has HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV damages the immune system, the part of the body that fights infection. Over time, the immune system becomes very weak. This stage of HIV is called AIDS. No one knows for sure when a person with HIV will get AIDS. HIV is different in different people. It can take a long time for HIV to make the person sick.

Worldwide, acquired immunodeficiency (AIDS) is most often associated with malnutrition or with infection with the human immunodeficiency virus.

Many people with HIV stay healthy for years. Understanding what it means to be HIV positive helps everyone. It helps people with HIV take the best care of themselves. It helps others give people with HIV the support they need and deserve.




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