• Conditions InDepth: AIDS

    Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is an illness that weakens the body's immune system. The immune system of a person with AIDS is not able to fight off certain infections and cancers.
    The Immune System
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    AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which destroys important immune system cells. HIV is spread through contact with HIV-infected blood or other body fluids, including semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. Unprotected sex is the most common mode of transmission. Sharing needles for injecting drugs is another common way the virus is transferred.
    What are the risk factors for AIDS?What are the symptoms of AIDS?How is AIDS diagnosed?What are the treatments for AIDS?Are there screening tests for AIDS?How can I reduce my risk of AIDS?What questions should I ask my doctor?What is it like to live with AIDS?Where can I get more information about AIDS?

    References

    Basic statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm . Updated February 26, 2009. Accessed November 5, 2009.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumocystis pneumonia—Los Angeles. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1981;30:250-252.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59(No. RR-12):1-110.

    Conn HF, Rakel RE. Conn's Current Therapy 2001 . 53rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2001.

    Global HIV/AIDS estimates, end of 2007. AVERT website. Available at: http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm . Updated June 30, 2010. Accessed August 13, 2010.

    HIV/AIDS. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/ . Accessed September 25, 2008.

    Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic. Geneva, Switzerland: UNAIDS; 2006.

    Noble J, Greene HL. Textbook of Primary Care Medicine . 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc; 2000.

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