HIV/AIDS

Updated 24 June 2014

What is Aids?

Aids stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. We say that this disease is acquired because it is not an infection that is inherited. It is caused by a virus (the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV) which enters the body from outside.

0

Aids stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. We say that this disease is acquired because it is not an infection that is inherited. It is caused by a virus (the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV) which enters the body from outside.

Immunity refers to the body’s natural inherent ability to defend itself against infection and disease.

Immune deficiency refers to the fact that the body’s immune system has been weakened so that it can no longer defend itself against passing infections.

A syndrome is a medical term which refers to a set or collection of specific signs and symptoms that occur together and that are characteristic of a particular pathological condition.

Although we use the term ‘disease’ when we talk about Aids, Aids, strictly speaking, is not a specific illness. It is really a collection of many different conditions that manifest in the body (or specific parts of the body) because the HI virus has so weakened the body’s immune system that it can no longer fight the pathogen (or disease-causing agent) that invades the body.

It is therefore more accurate to define Aids as a syndrome of opportunistic diseases, infections and certain cancers - each or all of which has the ability to kill the infected person in the final stages of the disease.

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Ask the Expert

HIV/Aids expert

Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules