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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

    Telling Others You’re HIV-Positive

    Telling others you're HIV-positive may be one of the most difficult things you ever do. There may be only one thing that's harder: the burden of carrying the secret alone. That doesn't mean you must tell everyone. Who you tell is a very personal decision. Here are some things to consider as you think about who, when, and how to tell others that you're HIV-positive.

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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.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    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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