- What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for: AI D S AIDS is a medical condition. A person is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system is too weak to fight off infections.
Since AIDS was first identified in the early 1980s, an unprecedented number of people have been affected by the global AIDS epidemic. Today, there are an estimated 33.3 million people living with HIV and AIDS worldwide.
- What cause AIDS?
- What are the symptoms of AIDS?
AIDS is caused by HIV. HIV is a virus that gradually attacks immune system cells. As HIV progressively damages these cells, the body becomes more vulnerable to infections, which it will have difficulty in fighting off. It is at the point of very advanced HIV infection that a person is said to have AIDS. It can be years before HIV has damaged the immune system enough for AIDS to develop.
- Is there a cure for AIDS?
Worryingly, many people think there is a 'cure' for AIDS - which makes them feel safer, and perhaps take risks that they otherwise wouldn't. However, there is still no cure for AIDS. The only way to stay safe is to be aware of how HIV is transmitted and how to prevent HIV infection.
- How is AIDS treated?
Antiretroviral treatment can prolong the time between HIV infection and the onset of AIDS. Modern combination therapy is highly effective and someone with HIV who is taking treatment could live for the rest of their life without developing AIDS. An AIDS diagnosis does not necessarily equate to a death sentence. Many people can still benefit from starting antiretroviral therapy even once they have developed an AIDS defining illness. Better treatment and prevention for opportunistic infections have also helped to improve the quality and length of life for those diagnosed with AIDS.
Treating some opportunistic infections is easier than others. Infections such as herpes zoster and candidiasis of the mouth, throat or vagina, can be managed effectively in most environments. On the other hand, more complex infections such as toxoplasmosis, need advanced medical equipment and infrastructure, which are lacking in many resource-poor areas.
It is also important that treatment is provided for AIDS related pain, which is experienced by almost all people in the very advanced stages of HIV infection.