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Chapter 1

HIV/AIDS - 1st Hr

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

  1. Background
  2. History
  3. Mechanisms
  4. Progression
  5. Statistics

2. Transmission

  1. Source
  2. Vehicle
  3. Target

3. Risk Reduction

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Chapter 1: Introduction

a.  Background

A serious viral infection which damages the immune system (our body's defense system), hindering its ability to protect against other infections.

Stages of HIV: The clinical progression of HIV is truly a continuum which is generally expressed as progressing through 4 stages.

  • Stage 1: Primary Infection
  • Stage 2: Asymptomatic Period
  • Stage 3: Symptomatic Period
  • Stage 4: AIDS

AIDS – Acquired Immune(o) Deficiency Syndrome. The stage of HIV infection where, due to the decreasing immune function, certain specific ‘opportunistic’ infections, cancers, nervous system disorders and syndromes become evident. This is the fourth stage of HIV infection.

Diagnosis of AIDS requires:

  • Positive HIV antibody/antigen test AND
  • Evidence of HIV infection (severely diminished CD4 count) or the appearance of certain AIDS specific complications. The diagnosis can only be made by a licensed medical-care provider.

Progression of AIDS: The risk that an untreated person with HIV infection will develop AIDS is about 1-2% per year during the first few years and thereafter about 5% per year.  The cumulative risk of developing AIDS is about 50% by the 10th year. At this time, HIV infection is lifelong and almost all untreated HIV infected persons will eventually develop AIDS.  The average time from HIV infection to death is 10-12 years if left untreated.  Encouragingly, a recent study indicates that the life expectancy of HIV-infected patients who receive early treatment may approach that of uninfected individuals.