Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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AIDS

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a clinical condition caused by the suppression of the human immune system due to the agency of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The syndrome includes an AIDS-Related Complex (ARC) of early symptoms, plus chronic opportunistic infections, which are able to challenge the body because the affected person’s deficient immune system can no longer ward them off. Until the discovery of potent drug combinations (cocktails), AIDS was usually fatal within 10-13 years. The clinical criteria of the CDC requires laboratory confirmation of HIV infection in persons who have a CD4 lymphocyte (T4 helper cell) count of 200 cells ml1 or who have an associated clinical condition (a neoplasm or AIDS-related opportunistic infection). The clinical test for AIDS involves the detection either of the virus itself (antigen test), or of antibodies, which appear about two months after exposure (antibody test); the presence of AIDS-specific antibodies classifies an individual as AIDS seropositive. Testing for the AIDS antibody began in April 1985; testing for the antigen began in 1996. Aka Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, HIV disease.

See chemokine (C-C) receptor 5.

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