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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

Recommended Related to HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS and Opportunistic Infections

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) attacks the body's white blood cells -- specifically a subset called CD4 or helper T cells. This attack allows opportunistic infections to take advantage of a weakened immune system, and can lead to illnesses, cancers, or neurological problems. If you have HIV and develop an opportunistic infection, your HIV infection may have progressed to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). But with careful monitoring, self-care, and treatment, you can prevent many...

Read the HIV/AIDS and Opportunistic Infections article > >

  • 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.

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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