ACQUIRED IMMUNODEFICIENCY SYNDROME (AIDS)

The most severe manifestation of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list numerous opportunistic infections and neoplasms (cancers) which, in the presence of HIV infection, constitute an AIDS diagnosis. In addition, a CD4+ T-cell count below 200/mm3 in the presence of HIV infection constitutes an AIDS diagnosis. The period between infection with HIV and the onset of AIDS averages 10 years in the United States. People with AIDS often suffer infections of the lungs, brain, eyes and other organs, and frequently suffer debilitating weight loss, diarrhea and a type of cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma. Even with treatment, most people with AIDS die within two years of developing infections or cancers that take advantage of their weakened immune systems. See also CD4 (T4) or CD4+ Cells; Diarrhea; HIV Disease; Kaposi's Sarcoma; Opportunistic Infection; Wasting Syndrome.
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