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HIV and AIDS

It is estimated over a million people in the United States, and almost 40 million people worldwide are currently living with HIV.

These alarming statistics and how quickly the virus continues to spread worldwide have pushed HIV and AIDS to the top of the list of healthcare priorities in the United States.

HIV is a viral infection that affects a person's immune system by destroying certain white blood cells called CD4+ (helper) T cells. These are the cells that help to defend the body against certain infections and cancers. When HIV weakens the immune system, a person is unable to fight off these infections, which include viruses, bacteria, parasites, and some types of cancer.

AIDS is the final and most serious stage of HIV disease, which causes severe damage to the immune system. A person with HIV is diagnosed with AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) when:

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Understanding HIV and AIDS

  • Getting Tested for HIV
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases
  • Types of HIV Tests
  • Women and HIV
  • Asymptomatic HIV Infection
  • HIV and AIDS Basics: Prevention and Risks
  • HIV and AIDS Overview
  • HIV in Infants and Children
  • HIV Test Sensitivity: False Negative and False Positive Results
  • HIV Transmission and Oral Sex
  • (More)

  • Commonly Asked Questions


    View All Q&As

  • FAQ About HIV Transmission (AVERTing HIV and AIDS)
  • How Do People Get AIDS? (Teens Health)
  • If I am HIV Positive, What Do I Need to Know About Immunizations?
  • Keeping Safe - Answers to Questions About HIV Transmission
  • Questions About HIV (Centers for Disease Control)
  • Questions About How HIV Tests Work (Centers for Disease Control)
  • Questions and Answers About HIV Transmission (Centers for Disease Control)
  • Testing Yourself for HIV-1 Questions and Answers (Food and Drug Administration)

  • Additional Information

  • Symptoms and Tests
  • Treatment
  • Complications
  • The Body
  • Meet Our Experts

    NetWellness Expert Henry H Ng

    Henry H Ng, MD, FAAP FACP
    Case Western Reserve University

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    Last Updated: Mar 07, 2014