AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening disease, which is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV virus, HIV). The HIV virus damages or destroys certain cells of the immune system. This allows the body bacteria, viruses or fungi no longer combat effective. Therefore, HIV patients are more susceptible to infections and certain cancers.
The virus and the infection called HIV. The term AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome = syndrome of acquired immune deficiency) is the late stage of HIV infection.
Most often, the transmission of HIV through sexual intercourse with an infected person. Other possibilities include the infection through contaminated blood or contaminated needles and syringes. Untreated mothers can transmit HIV during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding their children.
About 25 years ago, the first cases of AIDS have been reported. Since then, the disease has become a global pandemic. Worldwide, about 34 million people living with HIV – 3.4 million cases are children under 15 years, according to experts.
According to the UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO) in the year 2010, approximately 2.7 million people newly infected with HIV and about two million have died of AIDS.
In Germany, about 73,000 people are currently living with HIV. Men who have sex with men represent, in Germany with approximately 46,500 victims still the largest group of those infected. Approximately 10,500 people have been infected through heterosexual contact, about 9,000 come from so-called high-prevalence regions. About 6,800 people have been infected with HIV through injecting drug use.
At diagnosis, most people infected with HIV in this country early 30s to mid- The number of new infections was in 2011 at about 2,700.
The greatest impact has the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan region of Africa. There live about 23 million infected. But Africa is not the only region that is severely affected by AIDS. Large increases are reported for example from Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The number of drugs used to treat AIDS has multiplied since 1995. The combination of new drugs reduces serious complications of the disease and lead to a prolongation of life. But these positive messages are marred by reports of drug resistance.
Frightening is the increasing ignorance of the population to AIDS. Various reports from the U.S. and Europe show that young people increasingly risky behavior when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases.