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Human Immunodeficiency Virus


What is HIV?                                                            
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the

In the United States, more than 980,000 diagnosed cases of AIDS were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 1981 (when the first case was reported) and 2006. The CDC estimates that more than one million people in America may be infected with HIV and that as many as 250,000 of these may not know that they are infected and can pass on the virus to others.

Signs and Symptoms

HIV initially causes an

The patient’s immune system responds to the acute HIV infection by producing

In children who are infected with HIV at or before birth, symptoms may emerge within a couple of years. They may have delayed development and be frequently ill.

When does AIDS develop?

The term AIDS applies to the most advanced stages of HIV infection. According to the CDC, AIDS is diagnosed when your

Opportunistic infections common in people with AIDS cause symptoms such as:

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV is spread most commonly in these ways:





Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
AIDS is a disease of the immune system. It is caused by a virus. That virus is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the presence of HIV, there are two ways that AIDS can be diagnosed. There is either a decline of CD4 cells to less than 200 CD4 cells per millimeter cubed (CD4/mm3) of blood or an opportunistic infection develops.


Overview | Testing | Prevention & Treatment | Common Questions | Related Pagesvirus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). By killing or damaging cells of your body's immune system, HIV progressively destroys your body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers. People diagnosed with AIDS may get life-threatening diseases called opportunistic infections, which are caused by microbes such as viruses, bacteria, or fungi. These infections do not usually make healthy people sick. Those with HIV/AIDS are also at an increased risk of developing certain cancers, neurological disorders, and a variety of other conditions.acute illness with nonspecific or flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, headache, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes. Some people will not experience any noticeable symptoms. During this time period, the virus is present in large numbers and is carried throughout the body. HIV infects immune cells called CD4 T-cells (also called helper T cells) and slowly begins to decrease their numbers. The virus sets up house in places such as the brain and lymph nodes, where it will linger even during future drug treatment.antibodies against the virus. In most people, the initial symptoms go away after a short time period. The patient may be apparently healthy for a decade or more but behind the scenes HIV is still replicating and destroying CD4 T-cells. Eventually, the affected person’s immune system is compromised to the extent that they begin having symptoms such as persistently enlarged lymph nodes, weight loss, sweating, recurrent yeast infections, fever, herpes infections, rashes, and memory loss or difficulty concentrating.CD4 T-cell count drops below 200 or when you have HIV and an AIDS-related illness such as tuberculosis or pneumonia caused by the microorganism Pneumocystis jirovecii (carinii). In people with AIDS, opportunistic infections are often severe and sometimes fatal because the immune system is so damaged by HIV that the body cannot fight off certain bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.



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