Human immunodeficiency virus infection / acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). During the initial infection, a person may experience a brief period of influenza-like illness. This is typically followed by a prolonged period without symptoms. As the illness progresses, it interferes more and more with the immune system, making the person much more likely to get infections, including opportunistic infections and tumors that do not usually affect people who have working immune systems.

HIV is transmitted primarily via unprotected sexual intercourse (including anal and even oral sex), contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Some bodily fluids, such as saliva and tears, do not transmit HIV. Prevention of HIV infection, primarily through safe sex and needle-exchange programs, is a key strategy to control the spread of the disease. There is no cure or vaccine; however, antiretroviral treatment can slow the course of the disease and may lead to a near-normal life expectancy. While antiretroviral treatment reduces the risk of death and complications from the disease, these medications are expensive and may be associated with side effects.

Genetic research indicates that HIV originated in west-central Africa during the early twentieth century. AIDS was first recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1981 and its cause - HIV infection - was identified in the early part of the decade. Since its discovery, AIDS has caused nearly 30 million deaths (as of 2009). As of 2010, approximately 34 million people are living with HIV globally. AIDS is considered a pandemic - a disease outbreak which is present over a large area and is actively spreading.

HIV/AIDS has had a great impact on society, both as an illness and as a source of discrimination. The disease also has significant economic impacts. There are many misconceptions about HIV/AIDS such as the belief that it can be transmitted by casual non-sexual contact. The disease has also become subject to many controversies involving religion.

HIV/AIDS Wikipedia


In the News ...

Scientists see mechanism for spontaneous HIV 'cure'   PhysOrg - November 4, 2014
French scientists said Tuesday they had found the genetic mechanism by which two HIV-infected men may have experienced a "spontaneous cure", and said it offered a new strategy in the fight against AIDS.

  HIV may be 'functionally cured' in some   CNN - March 19, 2013

Evidence is mounting that it is possible to control the virus that causes AIDS with early treatment, so further therapy is not immediately needed. A recent study in the journal PLOS Pathogens reports that 14 patients with HIV, who received antiretroviral treatment within 10 weeks of infection, had their viral loads decreased so much that scientists say they are "functionally cured." The usual definition of a "cure" is that someone who was once infected has no virus left in his or her body. But in situations like this one, it can be said that there is "sustained remission that doesn't require therapy," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. That's what scientists call a "functional cure."

Did Acupuncturist Intentionally Spread HIV?   Discovery - March 18, 2013

A Swiss music teacher and amateur acupuncturist has been charged with infecting 16 people with HIV between 2001 and 2005. Prosecutors say the man, Maurice Goeller, used his unlicensed acupuncturist job as an excuse to stick needles infected with the AIDS-causing virus into over a dozen people, including his music school students. ItŐs not clear whether the HIV infections were the result of using non-sterile acupuncture needles, or whether Goeller was intentionally infecting his clients.

Mutated Form of Protein to Arrest Transition from HIV to AIDS Found   NZ News - January 19, 2013

A research has been carried out by a team of Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Australia, in order to find a treatment for stopping HIV to turn into AIDS. The team has registered success in finding a protein, which is a mutated form of protein found in the HIV. The mutated protein is expected to arrest the progression of HIV to turn into AIDS. Lead researcher David Harrich explained that they modified the HIV-1 Tat protein into a novel protein which they termed as "Nullbasic".