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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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Actress Gloria Reuben: AIDS Activist

Gloria Reuben first started grappling with HIV issues as part of her role on ER, as physician assistant Jeanie Boulet, one of the first openly HIV-positive characters on prime-time TV. But soon, the scripts began to take over her off-duty thoughts. “It follows you around wherever you go,” says Reuben, who was on the ER set until 1999. And when she accepted an invitation to a fundraiser from the late Elizabeth Glaser, she stepped into a new role as an AIDS activist. This past July, Reuben, who now...

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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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