HIV/AIDS and Aging

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 1.1 million people in the United States with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is defined by the collapse of the immune system (CD4 T-cell counts of 200 or less) or the presence of an AIDS-defining illness, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma. HIV is contracted through exposure to an infected individual’s bodily fluids (most specifically blood, semen, vaginal/cervical secretions, and breast milk), most often through unprotected sexual intercourse, intravenous drug use, or childbirth. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 35.3 million people are infected worldwide. When first identified in the early 1980s, HIV was equivalent to a death sentence, and life expectancy was ...

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