AIDS is a syndrome caused by the HIV virus. It is when a person’s immune system is too weak to fight off many infections, and develops when the HIV infection is very advanced. This is the last stage of HIV infection where the body can no longer defend itself and may develop various diseases, infections and if left untreated, death. There is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS. However, with the right treatment and support, people can live long and healthy lives with HIV.
1. It may cause influenza-like illness, tuberculosis, opportunistic infections and tumors, pneumocystis pneumonia, severe weight loss, Kaposi's sarcoma. The time period usually ranges from 6 months (rarely) to 15+ years. HIV infection passes through a series of steps or stages before it turns into AIDS. These stages of infection as outlined in 1993 by the Centers for Disease Control. Seroconversion illness – this occurs in 1 to 6 weeks after acquiring the infection. The feeling is similar to a bout of flu.
2. Asymptomatic infection – After seroconversion, virus levels are low and replication continues slowly. CD4 and CD8 lymphocyte levels are normal. This stage has no symptoms and may persist for years together.
3. Persistent generalised lymphadenopathy (PGL) – The lymph nodes in these patients are swollen for three months or longer and not due to any other cause.
4. Symptomatic infection – This stage manifests with symptoms. In addition, there may be opportunistic infections. This collection of symptoms and signs is referred to as the AIDS-related complex (ARC) and is regarded as a prodrome or precursor to AIDS.
The course of the HIV epidemic in Germany can be modelled by back calculation until the beginning of the nineties. The recent course of the epidemic can only be derived from surveillance data of newly diagnosed HIV infections in conjunction with other data sources. Based on these surveillance data HIV incidence in Germany can be estimated to have been stable with 2000 to 2500 new infections per year since the early nineties, after having peaked in the early eighties. The most affected group are men who have sex with men followed by persons infected by heterosexual contact and migrants from high prevalence countries. The number of intravenous drug users has declined over the years and is now in fourth place.
Biomedicine researchers at Dresden's Technical University have made several successful attempts to treat HIV virus with a new method which uses so-called ‘‘molecular scissors’’ to cut the virus from the DNA of infected cells. The researchers have managed to manipulate the enzyme so that it can identify a particular sequence and remove it - and they say it is more than 90 percent effective in identifying the HIV virus this way, TheLocal.de reported. "There are various methods and similar approaches, but removing the virus from infected cells is unique," said Professor Joachim Hauber, head of the antiviral strategy section at Dresden Technical University’s partner research lab at Hamburg's Heinrich Pette Institute, told the German daily. Molecular scissors that carry out the cutting could be ready to use in 10 years as a somatic genetic therapy (when a patient’s cells are altered and put back into the body).