Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Perry N. Halkitis
AIDS is an acronym for acquired immune deficiency syndrome , a health condition that leads to the deterioration of the immune system and is caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). AIDS is not a disease per se but rather a health syndrome that results in a weakened immune system, mostly due to the destruction of CD4 + T-cells, and that in turn results in susceptibility to numerous pathogens (viral, bacterial, fungal, and protozoal) that may lead to opportunistic infections and death. Individuals with AIDS are highly susceptible to these lifethreatening pathogens and to certain types of cancer. The number of individuals living with HIV and deaths due to AIDS increases daily, and because not all cases of HIV infection or AIDS are reported, official statistics are usually estimates rather than counts of reported cases and may vary by agency. According to the World Health Organization, in 2005 ...