AIDS - Experience

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

What is your personal experience with HIV/AIDS?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver


* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!


I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white triangle:

What does AIDS stand for? What causes AIDS?

AIDS stands for "acquired immunodeficiency syndrome." AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.

The virus is spread through contact with infected blood or infected fluids such as sexual secretions (stage 1). Over time, the virus attacks the immune system, focusing on special cells called "CD4 cells" which are important in protecting the body from infections and cancers, and the number of these cells starts to fall (stage 2). Eventually, the CD4 cells fall to a critical level and/or the immune system is weakened so much that it can no longer fight off certain types of infections and cancers. This advanced stage of infection (stage 3) with HIV is called AIDS.

HIV is a very small virus that contains ribonucleic acid (RNA) as its genetic material. When HIV infects animal cells, it uses a special enzyme, reverse transcriptase, to turn (transcribe) its RNA into DNA. (Viruses that use reverse transcriptase are sometimes referred to as "retroviruses.") When HIV reproduces, it is prone to making small genetic mistakes or mutations, resulting in viruses that vary slightly from each other. This ability to create minor variations allows HIV to evade the body's immunologic defenses, essentially leading to lifelong infection, and has made it difficult to make an effective vaccine. The mutations also allow HIV to become resistant to medications.

Return to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome

See what others are saying

Comment from: MASTER MAT, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 28

I have been living with HIV for over 30 years. I was diagnosed in 1983. It is not easy; in fact it's hard. You take medication, and then deal with the side effects. Anyone who is HIV positive should be in treatment. When I was first sick, it did not even have a name, and we did not know it was a retrovirus. The point is, soon, hopefully, there will be a cure. In the meantime, we must try to reduce new infections, through safe sex practices and early treatment. Waiting until someone is sick from HIV is the wrong way to go. It's like calling the fire department only when you see the house is burning down. As soon as you see smoke you call. Getting an HIV test is the first step to staying healthy.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

STAY INFORMED

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!