Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that is responsible for causing acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The virus destroys or impairs cells of the immune system and progressively destroys the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers. In adults and adolescents, HIV is most commonly spread by sexual contact with an infected partner. In the US, nearly all HIV infections in children under the age of 13 are from vertical transmission, which means the virus is passed to the child when they are in their mother's womb or as they pass through the birth canal. The virus has also been detected in breast milk. Before 1985, a small group of children were infected with the virus by contaminated blood products.

These are infections that take advantage of a weakened immune system and include:

  • Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Extreme weight loss and wasting; exacerbated by diarrhea which can be experienced in up to 90% of HIV patients worldwide
  • Meningitis and other brain infections
  • Fungal infections
  • Syphilis
  • Malignancies such as lymphoma, cervical cancer, and
  • Kaposi's Sarcoma

The total number of people diagnosed with AIDS in the USA is fast approaching one million. This total increases by more than 40,000 each year.

Around 47% of all people diagnosed with AIDS were probably infected with HIV through male-to-male sexual contact, while people exposed through heterosexual contact comprise around 17% of the total. Since the beginning of the epidemic, the number of heterosexual infections has increased dramatically. According to CDC estimates, heterosexual contact led to about one third of new AIDS diagnoses and one third of new HIV diagnoses in 2005.Around 19% of all adults and adolescents diagnosed with AIDS have been female. Among new AIDS diagnoses in 2005, this proportion was 27%.

In Argentina the HIV hasn’t already spread as in Africa or Europe. In 2005 there where 4300 deaths due to AIDS, but there are no children (ages 0-15) living HIV/AIDS. Also the 28% of the women between 15 and 49 have HIV/AIDS. There are a very little percentage of adults living with HIV/AIDS, only de 0.6% by the end of 2005.

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  • Sexual contact - unprotected vaginal or anal sex. Only condoms provide 'all-in-one' protection from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
  • Direct innoculation of the virus - for example infection through contaminated needles
  • Contaminated blood products / transplanted organs.
  • An infected mother may sometimes pass the virus to her developing fetus during the birth or breast milk.

How HIV damages the immune system (pag 420, Biology principles and processes ROBerts 574)

Socio-Economic impacts

Economic impacts

Economic Impact in Africa


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