HIV/AIDS

Many people hesitate to talk or think about HIV/AIDS. This is a potentially fatal mistake. Communication and education are two keys to defeating HIV/AIDS. The more you know about HIV/AIDS, the less likely you are to acquire the disease.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and destroys your body's immune system. The immune system fights germs and other diseases. When the body's immune system becomes very weakened, it is unable to fight off infections, a state called AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). Patients with AIDS often die from diseases such as pneumonia and cancer.

At this time, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. However, there are effective treatments. Many patients lead active and productive lives. Also, HIV/AIDS can be prevented.

There are many myths about HIV/AIDS. The Centers for Disease Control reports one-third of people infected by HIV do not even know they have it. This is one reason why the infection continues to spread.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), more than 23,000 HIV/AIDS cases have been reported in the state since 1986. From January through December 2007, South Carolina ranked eighth in the nation in reported HIV/AIDS cases. Almost seven of every men (68%) and more than eight of every ten women (83%) diagnosed are African American.

Learn all you can about HIV/AIDS to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you have been infected by this virus, learn how stay healthy. Take the time to learn about HIV/AIDS and how you can reduce your risk from the disease.

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Written by: Janice C. May, M.P.A.
Reviewed by: Jeffrey G. Schultze, M.D.
Last Modified: Wednesday December 21, 2011 8:47 AM