AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. If you get infected with HIV, your body will try to fight the infection. It will create antibodies which are special molecules that fight HIV. A blood test for HIV looks for these antibodies. If you have them in your blood, it means that you have HIV infection. People who have the HIV antibodies are said to be HIV-Positive. Being HIV-positive, or having HIV disease, is not the same as having AIDS. Many people are HIV-positive but don't get sick for many years. As HIV disease continues, it slowly wears down the immune system. Viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria that usually don't cause any problems can make you very sick if your immune system is damaged. The HIV virus targets the host immune system, making it a very difficult pathogen for the human body to fight. Due to the rapid mutation rates within the viral genome makes vaccine and drug development much more difficult. During the 20 years since the discovery of the HIV virus, many significant facts have been made concerning the molecular biology and pathogens... [continues]
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