HIV and AIDS
AIDS is a life threatening disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or
HIV. HIV makes it difficult for the body to fight off infections. There is no cure for AIDS.
However, there are new treatments that can slow down its progression.
There are about 33 million people in the world who have HIV or AIDS. In the United
States, about 1.2 million people have HIV or AIDS. More than 2 million people die each
year from AIDS-related illnesses.
This reference summary is about HIV and AIDS. First it describes the HIV infection
and how that turns into AIDS. This summary stresses risk factors, screening and
prevention. Symptoms and treatment are also reviewed.
What is HIV?
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. When a person has HIV it means the HIV virus is in
his or her body.
When a person has AIDS it means HIV has made it so the body cannot fight off
infections. The person may get infections or tumors that the body can no longer fight
Since AIDS is an advanced form of an HIV infection, everyone who has AIDS also has
HIV. HIV causes AIDS. HIV enters the body through blood, semen, vaginal fluid or
breast milk from an infected person.
This document is for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a doctor or healthcare professional or a
recommendation for any particular treatment plan. Like any printed material, it may become out of date over time. It is important that you rely on the
advice of a doctor or a healthcare professional for your specific condition.
©1995-2011, The Patient Education Institute, Inc. www.X-Plain.com
Last reviewed: 06/21/2011
The body depends on the immune system to fight infections the same way it depends
on the digestive system to digest food. The immune system also keeps some types of
cancer from taking over the body. With no immune system, a person would die from a
simple infection such as a cold or flu.
If we think of the...