History of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Essay

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History of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), specific group of diseases or conditions that result from suppression of the immune system, related to infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A person infected with HIV gradually loses immune function along with certain immune cells called CD4 T-lymphocytes or CD4 T-cells, causing the infected person to become vulnerable to pneumonia, fungus infections, and other common ailments. With the loss of immune function, a clinical syndrome (a group of various illnesses that together characterize a disease) develops over time and eventually results in death due to opportunistic infections (infections by organisms that do not normally cause
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About 430,000 of these deaths occurred in the United States. II CLINICAL PROGRESSION OF AIDS
The progression from the point of HIV infection to the clinical diseases that define AIDS may take six to ten years or more. This progression can be monitored using surrogate markers (laboratory data that correspond to the various stages of disease progression) or clinical endpoints (illnesses associated with more advanced disease). Surrogate markers for the various stages of HIV infection include the declining number of CD4 T-cells, the major type of white blood cell lost because of HIV infection. In general, the lower the infected person’s CD4 T-cell count, the weaker the person’s immune system and the more advanced the disease state. In 1996 it became evident that the actual amount of HIV in a person’s blood—the so-called viral burden—could be used to predict the progression to AIDS, regardless of a person’s CD4 T-cell count. With advancing technology, viral burden determinations are quickly becoming a standard means of patient testing.
An infected person’s immune response to the virus—that is, the person’s ability to produce antibodies against HIV—can also be used to determine the progression of AIDS; however, this surrogate marker is less precise during more advanced stages of AIDS because of the overall loss of immune function.
Within one to three weeks after infection with HIV, most people experience nonspecific
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