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AIDS in General Background In July 1981 an article in The New York Times reported the outbreak of a rare cancer among about forty gay men in New York and California San Francisco AIDS Foundation About AIDS - Main Page Very few people realised the implications that this so-called cancer would have Since then it has been discovered that it was not a cancer but the virus HIV and it has become a global epidemic HIV and AIDS impacts people of all ethnicities genders and sexual orientations It is now the second leading killer of people aged 25 to 44 in the United States The AIDS epidemic is unique because it is one of the few illnesses where medical responses do not suffice Behavioural interventions are also necessary What is HIVAIDS AIDS refers to the most advanced stage of infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus HIV HIV belongs to a class of viruses called retroviruses which make new copies of itself inside the cells it infects which go on to infect other cells It progressively destroys the bodys ability to fight infections and certain cancers by killing or damaging cells of the bodys immune system Those diagnosed with HIV may get life-threatening diseases called opportunistic infections caused by microbes such as viruses and bacteria that usually do not make healthy people sick HIV and AIDS dont kill anyone directly since those who die of AIDS actually die form one of the opportunistic infections How is it transferred HIV is a non-vectored infectious disease it is passed from host to host There have been some questions as to whether it is a vectored disease but it can be noted that if HIV were being transmitted through other routes such as air water insects the pattern of reported AIDS cases would be much different from what has been observed HIV is spread most commonly by having unprotected sex with an infected partner through contact with infected
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