Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Definition

Medical Definition: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

Disease described for the first time in the eighties, induced by retrovirus infection of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and characterized by profound immunosuppression with different clinical characteristics, including opportunistic infections, malignancies and central nervous system degeneration. The modes of transmission of HIV are the main determinants of the epidemiology of AIDS, and include sexual contact, both in male homosexual couples as heterosexual couples, the inoculation of blood or blood products, especially due to the use of needles shared by drug users, and transmission from mother to child, while in the womb, during birth or, less frequently, in infancy. Two to four weeks after exposure, infected patients may experience the so-called acute HIV syndrome, similar to flu symptoms, after which begins a clinically latent stage can last up to ten years. During this phase there is a steady progression of the infection in the lymphoid tissues, with a greater number of CD4 + T lymphocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells infected. Some individuals may experience at this stage called AIDS-related complex, characterized by fever, night sweats, weight loss, lymphadenopathy, and diarrhea, also can take months or years before progressing to AIDS. AIDS diagnosis is made based on a combination of laboratory tests for the detection of the virus, and the presence of many combinations of opportunistic infections (including Pneumocystis carinii or mycobacteria, and protozoal infections), neoplasms (until 30 % developed Kaposi's sarcoma), wasting and central nervous system involvement. As for the immunopathogenic mechanisms of HIV infection, it is known that the retrovirus is joined by its cover glycoproteins to CD4 molecules (v.) T lymphocyte line cells and monocytes / macrophages. Immunosuppression occurs as a result of elimination of CD4 + T cells by cytopathic effects, both direct and indirect, in addition to other functional disorders of the immune system. There is currently no cure for this disease, although the administration of several antiviral drugs and specific treatment of infections has greatly improved the outcome. Are being made intense efforts to obtain effective vaccines and the prevention of transmission of this disease.

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