A acquired: acquired during life, so not inherited
I immune: immunity – defense (system), the natural system in our body that protects us
from diseases caused by, for example, bacteria, viruses and fungi
D deficiency: shortage, lack, reduced function
S syndrome: the joint symptoms of a certain disease
Aids is caused by a virus known since 1980 as HIV. This virus had of course existed for much longer. It is suspected that it was transmitted by monkeys. The HIV virus affects the immunity system so that all types of other infections and diseases can occur. It is of such ailments that a patient dies.
AIDS can be transmitted by intimate sexual contact, when sperm or blood enters the bloodstream of someone else. But AIDS can also be transmitted by blood transfusion. So also from mother to foetus or through injections with unclean needles. The HIV virus only survives in certain liquids like blood or sperm. So it can occur in the vagina and in menstrual blood.
Outside the body, the HIV virus is soon dead. Therefore one cannot get AIDS from kissing, shaking hands, eating off the same plate, coughing or spitting, through tears or sweat or from bites by insects or other animals.Fear of aids when it reached epidemic proportions means that patients suffer as much from social ostrascism (exclusion) as from the infection itself.
An infection with the HIV-virus does not have to result in illness. About half the people who carry the virus (are HIV-positive) never show any affects. Others suffer from various ailments, like fatigue, night sweat, fever, diarrhoea, swollen glands, weight loss,coughing and skin cancer and finally succumb through general deterioration of all the vital functions.
More and better medicines have been developed over the years to slow down the disease process. The most recently developed drugs are PEP and PrEP (HIV inhibitors) that prevent you from getting HIV. You take PEP shortly after you have had unsafe sex at risk of HIV. You take PrEP before to prevent HIV. Drugs are not yet available in many poor countries, health care services for so many people are generally inadequate, while safe sex is practised too little.
If you want to be tested for AIDS, you must wait three months after the supposed time of infection. There are usually no outward symptoms at this time. And a drop of blood is taken and tested under the microscope. Normally the result comes in after a week or so. There are HIV-checkpoints in some big cities, where you are given the test-result immediately.