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May 2008
Fast facts about HIV
What is HIV?
HIV stands for 'human immunodeficiency virus'. HIV is a virus (of the type called
retrovirus) that infects cells of the human immune system (mainly CD4 positive T cells
and macrophages—key components of the cellular immune system), and destroys or
impairs their function. Infection with this virus results in the progressive deterioration of
the immune system, leading to 'immune deficiency'.
The immune system is considered deficient when it can no longer fulfill its role of fighting
off infections and diseases. Immunodeficient people are more susceptible to a wide
range of infections, most of which are rare among people without immune deficiency.
Infections associated with severe immunodeficiency are known as 'opportunistic
infections', because they take advantage of a weakened immune system.
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for 'acquired immunodeficiency syndrome' and is a surveillance definition
based on signs, symptoms, infections, and cancers associated with the deficiency of the
immune system that stems from infection with HIV.
What are the symptoms of HIV?
Most people infected with HIV do not know that they have become infected, because
they do not feel ill immediately after infection. However, some people at the time of
seroconversion develop “Acute retroviral syndrome” which is a glandular fever-like
illness with fever, rash, joint pains and enlarged lymph nodes.
Seroconversion refers to the development of antibodies to HIV and usually takes place
between 1 and 6 weeks after HIV infection has happened.
Whether or not HIV infection causes initial symptoms, an HIV-infected person is highly
infectious during this initial period and can transmit the virus to another person. The only
way to determine whether HIV is present in a person's body is by testing for HIV
antibodies or for HIV itself.
After HIV has caused progressive deterioration of the immune system, increased
susceptibility to infections may lead to symptoms.
HIV is staged on the basis of certain signs, symptoms, infections, and cancers grouped
by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Interim WHO clinical staging of HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS case definitions for surveillance
(2005): http://www.who.int/hiv/pub/guidelines/clinicalstaging.pdf:
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Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is known to be caused by  Humanimmuno virus (HIV).

     It is a highly spreading virus through out the world.

   The virus is believed to be found only in human beings and transmitted from person to person by    unprotected sexual intercourse, mother to child during pregnancy and delivery and sharing sharp materials, the virus basically attacks immune cells and CD4 cells.

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