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AIDS Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome AIDS also known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a disorder of the bodys immune system In AIDS the body stops producing some of its important natural defenses against disease Victims often die from disease of infections they cannot fight AIDS is the result of an infection known as HIV human immunodeficiency virus A person with HIV gradually loses function of their immune system becoming less able to fight off common colds and virus thus eventually leading to death HIV was first revealed in the early 80s in homosexual men Infection with HIV does not necessarily mean that a person does have AIDS A person can be HIV positive for years without developing illnesses that are associated with the AIDS disease HIV is characterized by a gradual deterioration of the immune system Cells known as T-Helper cells are disabled and killed during the course of the infection These cells play an important part in the human body because they signal other cells to perform their special functions The AIDS epidemic is growing very rapidly among minority populations and is a leading killer of African American males HIV can be transmitted by contact with infected blood most often by the sharing of drug needles or syringes contaminated with blood containing the virus The risk of contacting the HIV virus from blood transfusions has decreased since earlier years Now all donated blood is screened for any signs of the HIV virus HIV is spread most commonly by having sex with someone who already has the virus The virus can enter the human body through the lining of the vagina vulva penis rectum or mouth during sex Almost all HIV infected children get the HIV virus from their mothers before or during birth A drug known as AZT can reduce risk of transmission of the virus from mother to
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