Autism spectrum disorders

Tool helps kids with autism improve socialization skills

A team of NIH-funded researchers at Stanford University Medical School has found that children with autism improved measurably on a test of socialization and learning when their therapy included an at-home intervention with ...

Medical research

Monkey-infecting virus may provide part of future HIV vaccine

A protein from Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), which can infect monkeys and apes, has shown promise as a potential component of a vaccine against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), in a new study from scientists at ...

Health

New study shows crowdsourced traffic data could save lives

A new University of California, Irvine-led pilot study finds, on average, Waze "crash alerts" occur two minutes and 41 seconds prior to their corresponding California Highway Patrol (CHP)-reported crash. These minutes could ...

Genetics

The man who is aging too fast

Nobuaki Nagashima was in his mid-20s when he began to feel like his body was breaking down. He was based in Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture of Japan, where for 12 years he had been a member of the military, vigorously ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Withering away: How viral infection leads to cachexia

Many patients with chronic illnesses such as AIDS, cancer and autoimmune diseases suffer from an additional disease called cachexia. The complex, still poorly understood syndrome, with uncontrollable weight loss and shrinkage ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Anxious people quicker to flee danger

Fear and anxiety are both responses to danger but differ in timing. Fear strikes when something is an imminent threat: a tiger jumps over a fence, lunging at you. Anxiety, on the other hand, occurs when you have a moment ...

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Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The illness interferes with the immune system making people with AIDS much more likely to get infections, including opportunistic infections and tumors that do not affect people with working immune systems. This susceptibility gets worse as the disease continues.

HIV is transmitted in many ways, such as anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. It can be transmitted by any contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid that has the virus in it, such as the blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid, or breast milk from an infected person.

The virus and disease are often referred to together as HIV/AIDS. The disease is a major health problem in many parts of the world, and is considered a pandemic, a disease outbreak that is not only present over a large area but is actively spreading. In 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that there are 33.4 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS, with 2.7 million new HIV infections per year and 2.0 million annual deaths due to AIDS. In 2007, UNAIDS estimated: 33.2 million people worldwide were HIV positive; AIDS killed 2.1 million people in the course of that year, including 330,000 children, and 76% of those deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. According to UNAIDS 2009 report, worldwide some 60 million people have been infected since the start of the pandemic, with some 25 million deaths, and 14 million orphaned children in southern Africa alone.

Genetic research indicates that HIV originated in west-central Africa during the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. AIDS was first recognized by the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1981 and its cause, HIV, identified in the early 1980s.

Although treatments for HIV/AIDS can slow the course of the disease, there is no known cure or HIV vaccine. Antiretroviral treatment reduces both the deaths and new infections from HIV/AIDS, but these drugs are expensive and the medications are not available in all countries. Due to the difficulty in treating HIV infection, preventing infection is a key aim in controlling the AIDS pandemic, with health organizations promoting safe sex and needle-exchange programmes in attempts to slow the spread of the virus.

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