Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

Last Updated: August 17, 2020

Definition - What does Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) mean?

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a progressive form of human immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV), a viral infection that individuals contract by transmission of bodily fluids including blood, genitourinary emissions/secretions, and lactation (breast milk), compromising the immune system’s capacity to neutralize invading antigens from other pathological conditions. HIV predisposes the body to opportunistic infections (OI) where the infiltration of blood-borne microbes and pathogens targets CD4 cells, a white blood cell contributing to the physiological function of the immune system.

WorkplaceTesting explains Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

HIV candidates can experience acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) with symptoms including chronic fatigue, fever, joint pain, lethargy, muscle aches, night sweats, and extensive weight loss, carrying etiological implications that may go undetected for years. Early treatment interventions that consist of antiretroviral therapy (ART) following a diagnosis of HIV can preclude the advanced stage of developing AIDS. Consequently, routine HIV blood tests are imperative in monitoring and containing the severity of the infection, diminishing the risk of it spreading to a different person.

The prognosis for AIDS reflects independent variables including age, immunity response against secondary conditions, availability of quality healthcare services, and sanitation habits that can influence the longevity of life. Although HIV can appear dormant, a physician may perform vaccinations or administer antibiotics to bypass inadvertent exposure to opportunistic infections that can otherwise expedite the metastasis of AIDS. Perceived stigmas exist that HIV/AIDS is transmissible on direct contact (i.e., shaking hands, sneezing), representing a common misconception that can be a source of anxiety and depression.

Many case reports indicate that individuals use alternative medicine including herbal treatments in conjunction with mineral and vitamin supplements in the face of little evidence to support their health effects associated with AIDS. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 protects employees with disabilities, a federal mandate that applies to individuals with AIDS in the workplace. In the healthcare industry, exposure to bodily fluids of patients is a biohazard where the entry of virulent diseases can exacerbate the morbidity of AIDS, but the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is beneficial in preventing this occurrence.

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