HIV causes AIDS
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), the most advanced stage of HIV infection. AIDS attacks and destroys the immune system, leaving the infected person vulnerable to illnesses that can lead to death.1
- Close to 40 million people worldwide are living with HIV as of 20042
- Three million people died from AIDS in 20042
- Close to 5 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2003 alone2
- The number of people living with HIV has been rising in every region, with the steepest increases occurring in East Asia and in Eastern Europe and Central Asia where the epidemic has increased almost nine-fold in less than ten years2
- At the end of 2003, an estimated 1 million people in the U.S. were living with HIV/AIDS;3 and about 25 percent were undiagnosed and unaware of their HIV infection2
- In 2003 there were an estimated 40,000 new cases of HIV/AIDS in the U.S.3
Transmission through blood and body fluids
HIV is transmitted by contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person HIV, such as through:3
- Sexual contact
- Sharing needles and/or syringes (primarily for drug injection)
- Transfusions of infected blood or blood clotting factors
Babies born to HIV-infected women may become infected before or during birth or through breast-feeding after birth.3
Early detection improves blood safety
Transmission of HIV is very rare in countries that screen donated blood. The U.S. blood supply is among the safest in the world. In the U.S., nearly all people infected with HIV through blood transfusions received those transfusions before 1985, the year HIV testing began for all donated blood.3
In the U.S., current estimates are that fewer than 1 in 1.9 million blood components is capable of transmitting HIV.4
By detecting viral nucleic acids directly, PROCLEIX® Assays greatly shorten the "window period" of potential transfusion-transmitted infection found in other screening technologies that detect seriological markers.
Projection for HIV-1, HCV and HVB indicate a 42 percent to 70 percent reduction in the window period between infection and detection using nucleic acid testing.5
Drug therapy costly
HIV/AIDS may be treated with anti-retroviral drugs. These drugs work against HIV infection itself by slowing down the reproduction of HIV in the body.1 However, many of those infected in developing countries do not have access to these drugs.2
Prevention is best defense
HIV transmission can be prevented by:1
- Sexual abstinence or "safer sex" practices such as using condoms
- Not sharing needles and syringes
- Testing blood and blood products
- Short-term antiretroviral drug therapy for pregnant women with HIV
- UNAIDS - Fast Facts about AIDS page. Accessed Aug. 17, 2011.
- UNAIDS Global Facts and Figures. Accessed Aug. 17, 2011.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - HIV/AIDS Page. Accessed Aug. 11, 2005.
- American Association of Blood Banks - All About Blood Page. Accessed Aug. 17, 2011.
- Schreiber GB, Busch MP, Kleinman SH, Korelitz JJ. The Risk of Transfusion-Transmitted Viral Infections. N Engl J Med. June 27, 1996;445:1685-90.
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