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HIV and AIDS: Who Is Affected - Topic Overview

HIV and AIDS can affect anyone. Worldwide, an estimated 33 million people are living with HIV or AIDS.1 In the United States, more than a million people are infected with HIV.2 Many of these people do not know they are infected.

Since the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) became widespread in 1996, the incidence of AIDS has decreased. Factors responsible for the decline in the incidence of new AIDS cases include:3

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What to Do After Being Diagnosed As HIV-Positive

If you've just found out you're HIV-positive, you may feel overwhelmed, fearful, and alone. Know that you are far from alone. Countless people and resources are available to help you and the more than 1 million HIV-positive people living in the U.S. today. It may help to remember that being HIV-positive is not the virtual death sentence it once was. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). But being HIV-positive does not necessarily mean that you already...

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  • Fewer people are becoming infected with HIV today than in the early 1980s.
  • Improved treatments for HIV infection. ART slows the rate at which HIV multiplies in the body. This helps keep a person's immune system healthy longer, which may slow the rate at which opportunistic diseases (such as pneumonia) develop.
  • More effective treatments are available to prevent HIV-related infections.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 22, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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