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  • HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

  • If you have HIV, you have an infection

  • that damages your immune system over time, and causes AIDS.

  • AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

  • It is the final stage of an HIV infection, when

  • your immune system is damaged and too weak

  • to fight off ordinary infections.

  • When foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses,

  • get into your body, they can cause infections.

  • These events activate your body's defenses.

  • The white blood cells of your immune system

  • are part of your body's defenses.

  • One type of white blood cell, called

  • helper T lymphocytes, or helper T cells,

  • strengthen your immune system's response to infection

  • in two ways.

  • First, helper T cells release chemicals

  • that attract other white blood cells

  • to the site of the infection.

  • These additional white blood cells

  • attack the invading bacteria or virus, as well as

  • other infected cells.

  • Second, helper T cells release chemicals

  • that cause other white blood cells to multiply.

  • These new white blood cells create markers,

  • called antibodies, which can identify

  • the same foreign invader throughout your body.

  • Antibodies attach to the bacteria or virus,

  • marking them as targets for your immune system to destroy them.

  • If you have HIV, it travels through your blood

  • and other body fluids to infect and kill certain white blood cells.

  • The virus enters helper T cells, which are the primary target.

  • Once inside, the virus makes many copies of itself.

  • As these virus particles are made,

  • they leave the damaged helper T cell to infect other cells.

  • The T cell loses its ability to protect the body

  • from the ongoing infection and dies.

  • In this way, HIV spreads and kills

  • more of your helper T cells, weakening your immune system.

  • As a result, other types of infections

  • are able to take advantage of your body's inability

  • to defend itself.

  • These infections are called opportunistic infections.

  • If you have an HIV infection, and one or more

  • opportunistic infections, you have AIDS.

  • Some of the common AIDS-related opportunistic infections

  • are inflammation of the tissues covering your brain and spinal

  • cord, called meningitis, inflammation of your brain,

  • called encephalitis.

  • Respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

  • Intestinal illnesses, such as chronic diarrhea

  • caused by infectious parasites.

  • And cancers, such as Kaposi's sarcoma

  • and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

  • HIV passes from person to person through infected body fluids.

  • HIV can enter your body during unprotected sex, while sharing

  • drug injection needles, during your own childbirth,

  • while breastfeeding from your mother,

  • or from contaminated blood or blood products.

  • Although there is no cure for HIV,

  • drugs called antiretroviral medications

  • can reduce the amount of HIV in your body.

  • One class of antiretroviral medication,

  • called entry or fusion inhibitors,

  • disrupts the HIV infection process

  • by preventing the virus from attaching to your cells.

  • Other classes of antiretroviral medications

  • include reverse transcriptase inhibitors,

  • protease inhibitors, and integrase inhibitors.

  • These drugs prevent the creation, assembly, and spread

  • of new viruses.

  • Your doctor may prescribe a combination of these drug

  • classes, known as highly active antiretroviral therapy,

  • or HAART.

  • Antiretroviral medication doesn't completely

  • remove HIV from your body, but slows it down enough

  • to enable your immune system to fight infections.

  • Regular blood tests will let your doctor

  • know how effective your antiretroviral medication is

  • in controlling HIV.

  • If the number of helper T cells is high enough in your blood

  • sample, your medication is working.

  • Treatments for the opportunistic infections of AIDS

  • are medications specific for each type of infection.

  • For example, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics

  • if you have pneumonia or tuberculosis.

  • To avoid getting or spreading an HIV infection,

  • know your HIV status and your partner's status

  • by getting tested regularly.

  • The most effective way to prevent HIV infection

  • is to avoid vaginal and anal sex.

  • When engaging in sexual activity,

  • you will be less likely to contract HIV

  • if you only have sex with one uninfected partner,

  • or use latex condoms for protection.

  • Avoid using injectable illegal drugs, or sharing drug needles,

  • because the needles may have the virus on them.

  • Avoid intoxication from drugs or alcohol,

  • because you will be more likely to engage

  • in unsafe sexual behavior.

HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

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HIVとエイズ (HIV and AIDS)

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