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Definition of AIDS

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

AIDS: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, a syndrome caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), with ensuing compromise of the body's immune system. Features include deficiency of certain types of leukocytes, especially T cells; infection with opportunistic infections that take advantage of the impaired immune response, such as tuberculosis, bacterial pneumonia, human herpes virus, or toxoplasmosis; certain types of cancer, particularly Kaposi sarcoma; inability to maintain body weight (wasting); and in advanced cases, AIDS dementia complex. Treatment for AIDS has advanced rapidly. Antiviral, antibacterial, and immune-boosting medications, among other treatments, are part of current treatment protocols.

Reviewed on 12/4/2018

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