Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome AIDS is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus HIV. By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body's ability to fight infection and disease. It can also be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding. These drugs have reduced AIDS deaths in many developed nations. Some people infected by HIV develop a flu-like illness within two to four weeks after the virus enters the body.
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HIV is spread primarily by unprotected sex including anal and oral sex , contaminated blood transfusions , hypodermic needles , and from mother to child during pregnancy , delivery, or breastfeeding. Methods of prevention include safe sex , needle exchange programs , treating those who are infected , as well as both pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis. In , about 38 million people worldwide were living with HIV and , deaths had occurred in that year. HIV made the jump from other primates to humans in west-central Africa in the early-to-mid 20th century.
HIV is a virus that targets and alters the immune system, increasing the risk and impact of other infections and diseases. Without treatment, the infection might progress to an advanced stage called AIDS. The life expectancy of a person with HIV is now approaching that of someone who tests negative for the virus, provided that the person takes medications called antiretroviral therapy on an ongoing basis. These are types of T cell — white blood cells that circulate, detecting infections throughout the body and faults and anomalies in other cells. HIV targets and infiltrates CD4 cells, using them to create more copies of the virus.