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Saturday, 19 May 2012

WHAT IS AIDS ? ? ?

What is AIDS?

AIDS stands for: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
AIDS is a medical condition. A person is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system is too weak to fight off infections.

Since AIDS was first identified in the early 1980s, an unprecedented number of people have been affected by the global AIDS epidemic. Today, there are an estimated 34 million people living with HIV and AIDS worldwide.

What causes AIDS?
AIDS is caused by HIV.

HIV is a virus that gradually attacks immune system cells. As HIV progressively damages these cells, the body becomes more vulnerable to infections, which it will have difficulty in fighting off. It is at the point of very advanced HIV infection that a person is said to have AIDS. If left untreated, it can take around ten years before HIV has damaged the immune system enough for AIDS to develop.

What are the symptoms of AIDS?
A person is diagnosed with AIDS when they have developed an AIDS related condition or symptom, called an opportunistic infection, or an AIDS related cancer. The infections are called ‘opportunistic’ because they take advantage of the opportunity offered by a weakened immune system.

It is possible for someone to be diagnosed with AIDS even if they have not developed an opportunistic infection. AIDS can be diagnosed when the number of immune system cells (CD4 cells) in the blood of an HIV positive person drops below a certain level.

Is there a cure for AIDS?
Worryingly, many people think there is a 'cure' for AIDS - which makes them feel safer, and perhaps take risks that they otherwise wouldn't. However, there is still no cure for AIDS. The only way to stay safe is to be aware of how HIV is transmitted and how to prevent HIV infection.

How many people have died from AIDS?
Since the first cases of AIDS were identified in 1981, more than 30 million people have died from AIDS. An estimated 1.8 million people died as a result of AIDS in 2010 alone.

Although there is no cure for AIDS, HIV infection can be prevented, and those living with HIV can take antiretroviral drugs to prevent or delay the onset of AIDS. However, in many countries across the world access to prevention and treatment services is limited. Global leaders have pledged to work towards universal access  to HIV prevention and care, so that millions of deaths can be averted.

 CONTRIBUTED BY - http://www.avert.org/aids.htm#top

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