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AIDS; Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

HIV; Human Immunodeficiency Virus

HIV infection causes AIDS. HIV infection also causes the production of anti-HIV antibodies, which forms the test for HIV in patients. People who have the HIV antibodies are called “HIV-Positive. ”

Being HIV-positive, or having HIV disease, does not mean you automatically have AIDS, since HIV slowly wears down the immune system, by destroying CD4 cells. Many people are HIV-positive but don’t get sick for many years. Opportunistic infections such as Pneumocystis pneumonia, Kaposi’s sarcoma, Cytomegalovirus and Candida, can make AIDS patients very sick.

HIV can be transmitted from someone who has HIV (even if they are not yet HIV-positive) through the blood (eg shared needle use), vaginal fluid/semen (eg sexually transmitted), and breast milk of mothers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 to 1.2 million U.S. residents are living with HIV infection or AIDS; about a quarter of them do not know they have it. About 75 percent of the 40,000 new infections each year are in men, and about 25 percent in women. About half of the new infections are in Blacks, even though they make up only 12 percent of the US population.

There is no cure for AIDS - the condition can be managed to a degree by taking drugs that can slow down the destruction of CD4 cells but the HIV virus (anti-retrovirals), or those that prevent or treat opportunistic infections.  (OIs). In most cases, these drugs work very well.

Source; Adapted from Aids.org - Information, Education, Action.

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