Topics: AIDS, HIV, Immune system Pages: 2 (663 words) Published: May 8, 2013
The world is plagued by the HIV infection which almost always comes before AIDS. If you are HIV positive, that doesn't mean you have AIDS. Having AIDS usually means that you are HIV positive. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) basically breaks down your immune system until it can’t function properly anymore. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) never really kills anyone; instead it is a disease like pneumonia or something like that, that the body cannot fight because its immune system is very weak. The first reported case of AIDS in the United States was in 1981. Nearly 900,000 American citizens have the HIV virus and about 600,000 Americans have the AIDS virus itself. HIV and AIDS are rapidly growing throughout not only the nation, but the entire world. The most common way to get infected with HIV is through sexual contact with an infected person. Other ways of getting infected are through intravenous needles, blood transfusions, unsterile tattoos or piercings can also transmit the disease. Also, sometimes a pregnant mother can pass on the infection to her fetus before it is born. Most people do not have any distinct symptoms early on. Two months after the first exposure to the virus infected people experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, depression and expanded lymph nodes. However, these symptoms vanish after a month or so causing people to usually think that it is just another viral infection. More constant or severe symptoms may not surface for a up to a decade or more after HIV first enters the body in adults, or within two years in children born with HIV infection. This period of asymptomatic infection is highly unpredictable. Some people may begin to have symptoms in as soon as a few months, while others may be symptom-free for more than 10 years. During the asymptomatic period, however, HIV is actively multiplying, infecting and killing cells of the immune system. HIV's effect is seen most obviously in a loss in the blood...
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