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HIV/AIDS

AIDS is a collection of symptoms known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Human Genome Research Institute)

About HIV/AIDS

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS if not treated. Unlike some other viruses, the human body can't get rid of HIV completely, even with treatment. So once you get HIV, you have it for life.

HIV attacks the body's immune system, specifically the CD4 cells (T cells), which help the immune system fight off infections. Untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body, making the person more likely to get other infections or infection-related cancers.

Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can't fight off infections and disease. These opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS, the last stage of HIV infection....Read more about HIV/AIDS
CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Meta-analysis of effect on HIV/AIDS intervention in floating population

Bibliographic details: Yu C, Sun Y H, Sun L, Wang B, Cao H Y.  Meta-analysis of effect on HIV/AIDS intervention in floating population. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2008; 8(5): 322-327

Patient support and education for promoting adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS

People living with HIV/AIDS are required to achieve high levels of adherence to benefit from many antiretroviral regimens. This review identified 19 studies involving a total of 2,159 participants that evaluated an intervention intended to improve adherence. Ten of these studies demonstrated a beneficial effect of the intervention. We found that interventions targeting practical medication management skills, those administered to individuals vs groups, and those interventions delivered over 12 weeks or more were associated with improved adherence to antiretroviral therapy. We also found that interventions targeting marginalized populations such as women, Latinos, or patients with a past history of alcoholism were not successful at improving adherence. We did not find studies that evaluated the quality of the patient‐provider relationship or the clinical setting. Most studies had several methodological shortcomings.

Use of antimotility drugs (Loperamide, Diphenoxylate, Codeine) to control prolonged diarrhoea in people with HIV/AIDS.

People with HIV/AIDS often develop prolonged diarrhoea which are sometimes not caused by infections. This is more so in the sub‐Saharan Africa where drugs for controlling HIV itself i.e. antiretroviral drugs (ARV) may not be widely available or affordable. prolonged diarrhoea often results in prolonged illness and death due to loss of fluids, if not treated effectively and on time. Antimotility drugs and adsorbents are readily available and are used to try to control this condition while efforts are made to receive ARVs. We did not find enough evidence to support or refute their use in controlling this condition.

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Summaries for consumers

Patient support and education for promoting adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS

People living with HIV/AIDS are required to achieve high levels of adherence to benefit from many antiretroviral regimens. This review identified 19 studies involving a total of 2,159 participants that evaluated an intervention intended to improve adherence. Ten of these studies demonstrated a beneficial effect of the intervention. We found that interventions targeting practical medication management skills, those administered to individuals vs groups, and those interventions delivered over 12 weeks or more were associated with improved adherence to antiretroviral therapy. We also found that interventions targeting marginalized populations such as women, Latinos, or patients with a past history of alcoholism were not successful at improving adherence. We did not find studies that evaluated the quality of the patient‐provider relationship or the clinical setting. Most studies had several methodological shortcomings.

Use of antimotility drugs (Loperamide, Diphenoxylate, Codeine) to control prolonged diarrhoea in people with HIV/AIDS.

People with HIV/AIDS often develop prolonged diarrhoea which are sometimes not caused by infections. This is more so in the sub‐Saharan Africa where drugs for controlling HIV itself i.e. antiretroviral drugs (ARV) may not be widely available or affordable. prolonged diarrhoea often results in prolonged illness and death due to loss of fluids, if not treated effectively and on time. Antimotility drugs and adsorbents are readily available and are used to try to control this condition while efforts are made to receive ARVs. We did not find enough evidence to support or refute their use in controlling this condition.

Aerobic exercise for adults living with HIV/AIDS

Performing aerobic exercise or a combination of aerobic exercise and resistive exercise for at least 20 minutes, at least three times per week for at least five weeks appears to be safe and may improve fitness, body composition, and well‐being for adults living with HIV.

See all (73)

Terms to know

Cancer (Malignant Neoplasm)
A term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
The virus that causes AIDS.
Immune System
The body's system for protecting itself from viruses and bacteria or any foreign substances.
Microbes
A microscopic living organism. Examples include bacteria, protozoa, and some fungi and parasites. Viruses are also called microbes.
Opportunistic Infections
An infection caused by an organism that does not normally cause disease. Opportunistic infections occur in people with weakened immune systems.
T-Lymphocytes (T-Cells)
A type of white blood cell. T-lymphocytes are part of the immune system and develop from stem cells in the bone marrow. They help protect the body from infection and may help fight cancer. Also called T cell and thymocyte.

More about HIV/AIDS

Photo of a young adult man

Also called: Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, Acquired immune deficiency syndrome

Other terms to know: See all 6
Cancer (Malignant Neoplasm), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Immune System

Related articles:
HIV/AIDS and the Immune System

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