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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

HIV and AIDS Continues to Spread Mostly Amongst U.S. Blacks and Hispanics

AIDS Diagnosis Chart By Race, Ethnicity and Sex

Both HIV-positive and AIDS patients are those who have have been diagnosed as having the HIV virus. Having HIV and having AIDS is not the same thing. Patients who have been diagnosed HIV-positive can live for many years without any symptoms. The difference between the two is the progressive level of the disease.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that damages the immune system and leaves patients susceptible to infections. African American men and women are estimated to have an HIV incidence rate about 8 times as high as the incidence rate among whites. When the immune system becomes so weak that it cannot fight off infections and diseases, the patient is diagnosed with having AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. At this point, the patient's immune system cells have been destroyed.

This is why it is critical to get tested before the HIV virus destroys the immune system. The existence of the HIV virus can be tested with a simple blood and saliva test. The virus may take anywhere from 12 weeks to six months to appear, making it even more important to get tested regularly. Symptoms include flu-like symptoms that include fever, sore muscles, headache, rash, sore throat, sores in the mouth and on the genitals, diarrhea, night sweats, and swollen lymph glades, especially in the neck area.

Today, even having AIDS is not an immediate death sentence, even though 60 million people were reported to be infected in 2011. More than 30 drugs are now available that suppress HIV and delay its progression to full-blown AIDS. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of people living with AIDS is increasing.

New drug therapies keep HIV-infected persons healthy longer, resulting in the death rate being drastically reduced. The United Nations AIDS program reported in 2012 that worldwide deaths related to AIDS fell from 1.8 million in 2010 to 1.7 million in 2011.
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