AIDS

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Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).[1][2][3] 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.[4][5] This transmission can involve anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids.

AIDS is now a pandemic.[6] In 2007, it was estimated that 33.2 million people lived with the disease worldwide, and that AIDS killed an estimated 2.1 million people, including 330,000 children.[7] Over three-quarters of these deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa,[7] retarding economic growth and destroying human capital.[8]

Genetic research indicates that HIV originated in west-central Africa during the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.[9][10] AIDS was first recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1981 and its cause, HIV, identified in the early 1980s.[11] Although treatments for AIDS and HIV can slow the course of the disease, there is currently no vaccine or cure. Antiretroviral treatment reduces both the mortality and the morbidity of HIV infection, but these drugs are expensive and routine access to antiretroviral medication is not available in all countries.[12] Due to the difficulty in treating HIV infection, preventing infection is a key aim in controlling the AIDS pandemic, with health organizations promoting safe sex and needle-exchange programmes in attempts to slow the spread of the virus.[1]

For lessons on the topic of AIDS, follow this link.

Notes and references

  1. Sepkowitz KA (June 2001). "AIDS--the first 20 years". N. Engl. J. Med. 344 (23): 1764–72. doi:10.1056/NEJM200106073442306. PMID 11396444.
  2. Weiss RA (May 1993). "How does HIV cause AIDS?". Science (journal) 260 (5112): 1273–9. PMID 8493571.
  3. Cecil, Russell (1988). Textbook of Medicine. Philadelphia: Saunders. pp. 1523, 1799. ISBN 0721618480.
  4. Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention (2003). "HIV and Its Transmission". Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Retrieved 2006-05-23.
  5. San Francisco AIDS Foundation (2006-04-14). "How HIV is spread". Retrieved 2006-05-23.
  6. Kallings LO (2008). "The first postmodern pandemic: 25 years of HIV/AIDS". J Intern Med 263 (3): 218–43. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2007.01910.x. PMID 18205765.
  7. UNAIDS, WHO (December 2007). "2007 AIDS epidemic update" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-03-12.
  8. Bell C, Devarajan S, Gersbach H (2003) (PDF). The long-run economic costs of AIDS: theory and an application to South Africa. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3152. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  9. Gao F, Bailes E, Robertson DL, et al. (1999). "Origin of HIV-1 in the Chimpanzee Pan troglodytes troglodytes". Nature 397 (6718): 436–441. doi:10.1038/17130. PMID 9989410.
  10. Worobey M, Gemmel M, Teuwen DE, et al. (October 2008). "Direct evidence of extensive diversity of HIV-1 in Kinshasa by 1960". Nature 455 (7213): 661–4. doi:10.1038/nature07390. PMID 18833279. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  11. Gallo RC (2006). "A reflection on HIV/AIDS research after 25 years". Retrovirology 3: 72. doi:10.1186/1742-4690-3-72. PMID 17054781.
  12. Palella FJ Jr, Delaney KM, Moorman AC, et al. (1998). "Declining morbidity and mortality among patients with advanced human immunodeficiency virus infection. HIV Outpatient Study Investigators". N. Engl. J. Med 338 (13): 853–860. PMID 9516219.

Further reading

External links