The word AIDS is an acronym that stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome and is no of the deadly diseases prevalent in the world today. A recent study on AIDS has reported that today almost 33 million people are living with this syndrome and almost 25 million people have died because of this disease since the disease was first identified in the year 1981.
Most of us are aware of the criminal behind this disease, the human immunodeficiency virus, commonly known as HIV. This is a kind of retrovirus that targets a particular kind of cell in the immune system for its growth and expansion.This virus thus multiplies by killing a vast number of CD4+ cells present in our immune system. These cells are also known as the T-cells and are necessary elements of the immune system that helps our body to fight against infections.
Thus a person tested positive with HIV begins to lose his/her immune system gradually as the virus eats and damages more CD4+ cells in the immune system. When this infection prolongs for a longer period, the person is said to have developed AIDS. But it can be many years before HIV has completely damaged the immune system for the disease to develop. There are some specific symptoms for AIDS that doctors have identified through these years. These are known as AIDS-related symptoms or opportunistic infection though it is possible for someone to develop AIDS without these infections.
HIV is normally present in the genital secretions and the blood of the person who is infected with this virus. The virus spreads when these genital secretions come in contact with the some tissues lining the vagina, mouth and the anal area.
Tissues lining around the eyes are also affected when these secretions come in contact with them. Break in the skin like a cut or a puncture by needle also causes the virus to spread from one person to another. The common ways in HIV is spread include sexual intercourse, sharing of used needles and by transmission from a infected mother to their children.