HIV infection is a disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The condition gradually destroys the immune system, which makes it harder for the body to fight infections. Most people infected with HIV eventually develop AIDS. These individuals mostly die from opportunistic infections or malignancies associated with the progressive failure of the immune system. HIV progresses to AIDS at a variable rate affected by viral, host, and environmental factors; HIV-specific treatment delays this process. Most will progress to AIDS within 10 years of HIV infection: some will have progressed much sooner, and some will take much longer. Treatment with anti-retrovirals increases the life expectancy of people infected with HIV. Even after HIV has progressed to diagnosable AIDS, the average survival time with antiretroviral therapy was estimated to be more than 5 years as of 2005. Without antiretroviral therapy, someone who has AIDS typically dies within a year.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This condition progressively reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and leaves individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections and tumors. HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid, and breast milk.
When HIV infection becomes advanced it often is referred to as AIDS. It generally occurs when the CD4 count is below 200/mL and is characterized by the appearance of opportunistic infections. These are infections that take advantage of a weakened immune system and include:
• Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia
• Extreme weight loss and wasting; exacerbated by diarrhea which can be experienced in up to 90% of... [continues]
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