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AIDS

Acquired Immune Deficiency Symptoms

AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, is the late stage of HIV disease. It results in: 

  • a break down of the immune (defense) system, and
  • an increased risk of developing various opportunistic infections and cancers.

Although 2007 marked the 25th Anniversary of the AIDS Epidemic, and although the number of persons dying from HIV/AIDS has decreased markedly as a result of effective combination therapy, there were a reported 40,000 new HIV infections each year in the United States from 1998 to 2008.. However, in mid-2008 , the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a sharp increase in incidence, to 56,300, in 2006. The largest number of new cases in CDC’s 2008 report was in two groups:

  • gay and bisexual men, or men who have sex with men (MSM) of all races, and
  • African American men and women.

However, CDC indicated that much of the increase has been due to improved diagnosis, and better statistical or analytical methods.

The Black AIDS Institute reported in mid-2008 that AIDS is largely becoming a Black disease, with nearly 600,000 African Americans living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, up to 30,000 African Americans are becoming infected each year.

Much additional information on HIV/AIDS is provided in our HIV/AIDS Section.

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