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Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

History, Modes Of Transmission, Testing And Diagnosis, Symptoms, Treatment, Psychosocial Issues, Global Implications

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which destroys the cells in the human body that combat infections. Although recent medical advances have caused a shift from the mindset of a terminal disease to one of a chronic, manageable condition in some areas of the world, this new approach brings challenges of its own, as the disease is eventually fatal (Ferri et. al 1997). HIV has brought about a global epidemic far more extensive than what was predicted even a decade ago. The issue of HIV/AIDS is not only relevant to medical documentation, but is complex and highly politically charged, affecting all communities regardless of race, age, or sexual orientation (Ginsberg 1995). At the end of the year 2000, it was estimated that there were 36.1 million adults and children living with HIV/AIDS, the vast majority of whom live in the developing world, with more than twenty-five million living in the continent of Africa ("Global Summary of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, 2000" 2001).

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