The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and is characterized by profound immunosuppression with associated opportunistic infections, malignancies, wasting, and central nervous system degeneration (12). The disease is often referred to as a pandemic as it affects an exceptionally high proportion of the world’s population (13).
AIDS is the most severe acceleration of infection with HIV. HIV is a retrovirus that primarily infects vital organs of the human immune system such as CD4+ T cells (also known as T-helper cells), macrophages and dendritic cells. It directly and indirectly destroys T-helper cells (1).
Once HIV has killed very many T-helper cells and there are less than 200 of these cells in the bloodstream, cellular immunity is lost. Acute HIV infection progresses over time to clinical latent HIV infection and then to early symptomatic HIV infection and later to AIDS, which is identified either on the basis of the amount of T-helper cells remaining in the blood, or if there are any conjunction between other diseases (1).
By the end of March 2006 in Australia, over 9806 cases of AIDS was diagnosed and over 6611 AID related deaths has been recorded (3). In the same year, 22 615 people had been diagnosed with HIV (3).
Major vectors for transmission continue to be reported as sexual contact between men. The rate of HIV diagnoses in the indigenous and non-indigenous did not differ greatly, but much higher proportion of cases in the indigenous population were attributed to heterosexual contact and injecting drug use (10).
In Australia the following statistics where found in relation to what population of people where more exposed to the HIV disease in 2002:
|Exposure category |% in 2002 |
|Male homosexual/bisexual... [continues]
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