The virus and its aftermath: what is AIDS? |

World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day so that the previously incurable disease is not forgotten.

At the beginning of an AIDS illness there is an infection with the HI virus. That means in long form “Human Immunodeficiency Virus” (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). This virus attacks and destroys the body’s own defense cells.

The virus can lie dormant in the body for many years or decades without causing permanent symptoms of the disease. In this condition, the person affected is referred to as “HIV-positive” – ​​the HIV virus is present in the body and can be transmitted to others, but the actual disease – AIDS – has not yet broken out.

AIDS is called “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome” (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). One speaks of AIDS when the immune system is so weakened by the attack of the HI virus on the immune cells that the body becomes susceptible to all kinds of infections. AIDS leads to a complex clinical picture with different symptoms, therefore one speaks of a syndrome. You can find out how the disease progresses here.

AIDS is not yet curable because the HI virus can change so quickly that known drugs no longer work. One speaks of resistance. After all, AIDS can now be contained to such an extent that the disease is chronic, but often no longer fatal. This is how AIDS is treated.

Current data on the HIV / AIDS situation in Germany and the federal states can be found on the website of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO) have data for Europe and the world in English.

Depending on which figures are related, the statement changes: If you compare the number of new HIV infections in Germany with the international figures, the rate of infection in Germany stagnates at a low level. If you compare the figures for Germany with the figures in Germany at the end of the 1990s, the rate of new HIV infections in this country has leveled off at a high level, because the number of infections in Germany had dropped to its lowest point at the end of the 1990s. It also makes a difference whether you get the numbers ME with numbers from Germany compares or numbers of the WHO European Region, because the World Health Organization (WHO) includes more countries than the EU.

Two terms that should not be confused. The rate of new HIV infections shows how the epidemic is spreading. If the rate increases, that is worrying. At the rate of first-time HIV diagnoses, experts identify the infection in a region and advise on what medically needs to be done. Higher numbers are not as alarming as new HIV infections because it is not about new infections, but old cases that have been discovered. Sometimes the time of infection was years ago.

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