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AIDS Epidemic Still Alive
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is human viral disease that destroys the immune system and the body’s ability to defend itself from infection and disease. AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), AIDS leaves an infected person vulnerable to infections. Such infections are harmless in healthy people, but in those whose immune systems have been greatly weakened, they can prove fatal. Although there is no cure for AIDS, new drugs are available that can prolong the life spans and improve the quality of life of infected people.
Some people who have HIV infection may not develop any of the clinical illnesses that define the full-blown disease of AIDS for ten years or more. Physicians prefer to use the term AIDS for cases where a person has reached the final, life-threatening stage of HIV infection.
In the United States about 40,000 new HIV infections occur each year. More than 30 percent of these infections occur in women, and 60 percent occur in ethnic minorities. In 2000 about 800,000 to 900,000 U.S. residents were infected with HIV, and about 300,000 people were living with full-blown AIDS.
In South Africa AIDS is the Leading killer among women and is killing more people every year. Aids related illnesses are responsible for 9.8 percent of female deaths in South Africa in 2001, up from 5.6 percent in 1997 according to a survey by Statistics South Africa. The survey also showed AIDS-related deaths among the all South Africans rose from 4.6 percent in 1997 to 8.7 percent in 2001. It is estimated that 4.7 million South Africans or 11 percent of the population are infected with the AIDS virus....
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