Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
   
Ask the Experts About

Safe Sex and HIV PreventionSafe Sex and HIV Prevention
           
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary


What exactly is AIDS? In detail.
May 28, 1997

What exactly is AIDS? In detail.

Well, my heading pretty much asks my whole question. I am doing a report/presentation in one of my classes at school and I would like a detailed answer on what AIDS is. Thanks.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. AIDS is a disease caused by a virus called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. In this disease, the HIV virus damages the immune system, so the body is no longer able to fight off diseases, that normally it would be able to fight off. HIV infects and destroys a specific cell of your immune system called a CD4 cell (also called a T4 cell or a T helper cell). The CD4 cells are the "generals" of the "immune system army". The CD4 cells tells other cells of the immune system what to do when an invading organism, germ, or cancer cell is found in the body. Basically what HIV does, is kill off the CD4 cells (that is, it kills off the generals of the army). When the generals of the "immune system army" are killed off, the rest of the immune system won't know what to do to fight off invaders. This is how HIV damages the immune system.

When HIV first enters the body, your immune system immediately attacks the virus, and keeps it under control for a number of years. During this time, the virus is at constant battle with your immune system. Your body tries to get rid of the virus, but can only keep it under control. After a number of years, your immune system starts to lose it's battle against HIV. After an average of 10 years of fighting HIV, your immune system starts to weaken, and this is when full-blown AIDS begins. During this 10 year period, a person may have no symptoms at all, and feel fine and look fine. During this time, the person is considered HIV positive, but does not yet have full-blown AIDS.

The definition of full-blown AIDS is a very specific one. In order to be diagnosed with AIDS, a person must meet the following requirements:

First, a person must be diagnosed with either HIV-1 or HIV-2.

Second, in addition to having HIV, a person must have at least one of the following:

1. A CD4 cell count less than 200.



Previous
WHY HAVE CHILDREN?
Next
A question on AIDS occurances

  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS


 
Advertisement



Q&A TERMS OF USE

This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint

Advertisement