AIDS (Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome) is one of the worst pandemics the world has ever known. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), the virus that causes AIDS, was first discovered in 1981 in a remote area of central Africa. It has since swept across the globe, infecting millions in a relatively short period of time. AIDS has killed 28.1 million people that we know of, with 3 million people dying in the year 2002 alone. While many cases go unreported, the prevalence of the disease is increasing. By comparison:
Clearly the AIDS pandemic has had, and will continue to have, a significant and global impact.
Photo courtesy National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is shown budding out of a human immune cell.
In this article, we will show you how the HIV virus attacks the immune system and how it causes AIDS. We will also clear up some of the myths about AIDS and how HIV is transmitted.