Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 21, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963855 | Print ISBN: 9781412941860 | Online ISBN: 9781412963855| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
AIDS, Living with
Jared Daniel Ament
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a collection of symptoms and infections resulting from specific damage to the immune system. It is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is transmitted through direct contact with mucous membranes or bodily fluids, such as blood, semen, preseminal fluid, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. Transmission can occur through vaginal, anal, or oral sex; blood transfusions; hypodermic needles; childbirth; or breast-feeding. HIV is thought to have originated in sub-Saharan Africa during the 20th century and first appeared in the United States in 1981. It is currently a pandemic of enormous magnitude, with an estimated 38.6 million people infected worldwide. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as of January 2006, AIDS has killed more than 25 million people. In 2005 alone, AIDS claimed an estimated 2.4 to 3.3 million lives, of which more than 570,000 ...