hiv and aids

hiv infection and aids

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, causes AIDS. AIDS stands for "acquired immune deficiency syndrome." It is a condition that causes death and does not have a known cure. AIDS usually develops 10 to 15 years after a person is first infected with HIV. The development of AIDS can be delayed with proper medicines. The delay can be well over 20 years with the right medicines. Today, individuals who acquire HIV after 50 years of age can expect to reach an average human life span.

how hiv spreads

HIV spreads through contact between an infected persons body fluids and another persons bloodstream or mucus membranes, which are found in the mouth, nose, and genital areas. Body fluids that may contain HIV are blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. The virus can spread through sexual contact or shared drug needles. It can also spread from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth or breastfeeding. Saliva can carry the HIV virus, but it wont spread it, unless the saliva gets into the bloodstream. Other body fluids such as urine and sweat do not contain the virus. HIV does not spread in any fluid in which the host cells cannot survive. Some people think they can become infected with HIV by donating blood or receiving donated blood. This is not true. The needles used to draw blood for donations are always new. Therefore, they cannot spread the virus. Donated blood is also tested to make sure it is does not contain HIV. HIV is not transmitted by day-to-day contact in the workplace, schools, or social settings. HIV is not transmitted through shaking hands, hugging, or a casual kiss. You cannot become infected from a toilet seat, a drinking fountain, a door knob, dishes, drinking glasses, food, or pets.


AIDS is not really a single disease. It is a set of symptoms and other diseases. It results from years of damage to the immune system by HIV. AIDS occurs when helper T cells fall to a very low level, making it difficult for the affected person to fight various diseases and other infections. These people develop infections or cancers that people with a healthy immune systems can easily resist. These diseases are usually the cause of death of people with AIDS. The first known cases of AIDS occurred in 1981. Since then, AIDS has led to the deaths of more than 35 million people worldwide. Many of them were children. The greatest number of deaths occurred in Africa. It is also where medications to control HIV are least available. There are currently more people infected with HIV in Africa than any other part of the world. Well over 30 million people are living with HIV worldwide.

hiv and the immune system

How does an HIV infection develop into AIDS? HIV destroys white blood cells called helper T cells. The cells are produced by the immune system. This is the body system that fights infections and other diseases. HIV invades helper T cells and uses them to produce more virus particles ( Figure 1.1). Then, the virus kills the helper T cells. As the number of viruses in the blood rises, the number of helper T cells falls. Without helper T cells, the immune system is unable to protect the body. The infected person cannot fight infections and other diseases because they do not have T cells. This is why people do not die from HIV. Instead, they die from another illness, like the common cold, that they cannot fight because they do not have helper T cells. Medications can slow down the increase of viruses in the blood. But the medications cannot remove the viruses from the body. At present, there is no cure for HIV infection. A vaccine against HIV could stop this disease, and such a vaccine is in development, though it could take many years before it can be given to prevent this virus.


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the development of aids can be delayed by well over 20 years with proper medicines.

-->  a. true

b. false

hiv spreads through kissing.

a. true

-->  b. false

why is donated blood safe from hiv?

a) people with hiv are prevented from donating blood.

-->  b) donated blood is also tested to make sure it is does not contain hiv.

c) hiv is removed from all donated blood.

d) all of the above

without proper medicines, aids usually develops ____ years after a person is first infected with hiv.

a) 1 to 5

b) 5 to 10

-->  c) 10 to 15

d) more than 20

what continent is the hardest hit by hiv?

a) north america

b) asia

-->  c) africa

d) australia

what body fluid can spread hiv?

-->  a) breast milk

b) sweat

c) saliva

d) all body fluids can spread hiv.

when does aids develop?

a) aids develops when a person with hiv catches a cold.

-->  b) aids develops when helper t cells fall to a very low level.

c) aids develops when a person with hiv produces more virus.

d) aids develops when the vaccine no longer works in that person.

diagram questions

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