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What is AIDS?

AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

Acquired – means that the disease is not hereditary but develops after birth from contact with a disease-causing agent (in this case, HIV).

Immunodeficiency – means that the disease is characterised by a weakening of the immune system.

Syndrome – refers to a group of symptoms that indicate or characterise a disease. In the case of AIDS, this can include the development of certain infections and/or cancers, as well as a decrease in the number of certain specific blood cells, called CD4+ T cells, which are crucial to helping the body fight disease.

AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection when a person’s immune system is severely damaged and has difficulty fighting diseases.