∞ generated and posted on 2016.01.09 ∞

Virus-induced decline in T helper cells characterized by severe immunodeficiency.

AIDS stands for Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome and is caused by infection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which is a retrovirus. HIV is a bloodborne pathogen and AIDS is also a sexually transmitted disease.

AIDS is characterized by numerous secondary infections, often caused by opportunistic pathogens, particularly bacteria, fungi, and viruses which tend to not have much negative impact on otherwise healthy individuals. The immunodeficiency is a consequence of a severe depletion of CD4+ leukocyte, which include especially helper T lymphocyte but also monocyte, dendritic cells, and macrophages.

An HIV infection is not synonymous with AIDS but instead AIDS represents an end-stage of uncontrolled HIV infection, often occurring many years after the initial HIV infection. HIV infections are characterized as chronic infections rather than latent infections, though individual virions can latently infect individuals cells, making HIV infections effectively impossible to eradicate even if plasma viral loads are reduced to zero.