Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome also known as AIDS is a group of many different illnesses that together make the characteristics of a disease. AIDS begins with attacks on the immune system caused by an infection called the human immunodeficiency virus known best as HIV.
In patients who have acquired HIV there is a steady loss of immune cells called CD4+ T-lymphocytes. The loss of the immune cells can result in the development of other diseases caused by common infections that don't threaten normal, healthy people. These infections include fungal, bacterial, protozoal, and viral diseases. It usually takes about six to ten years for a person who contracted HIV to develop AIDS.
In 1983, HIV was identified as a new human retrovirus. Luc Montagnier and scientists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris had isolated the retrovirus from a lymph nodes of a man who was thought to be at the risk of getting AIDS. Almost at the same time both Robert Gallo's group at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and a group led by Jay Levy at the University of California had isolated the retrovirus from several different AIDS patients.
When HIV was identified in 1983 the opportunity to develop a method of detection was great. Screening tests now in widespread use show the presence of antibodies that are made by the immune system when infected by HIV.
After exposure to HIV these tests are unable to detect its presence for a period of time ranging from about four to eight weeks, because the immune system needs time to produce the antibodies that help make detection possible. There are other methods of detection that show some characteristics of the virus, that can be used in the four to eight weeks after exposure to HIV.
There are many ways that an individual can contract HIV. You can become infected through unprotected sex with a person who has HIV or AIDS and by sharing needles while using drugs. Having oral sex with an infected person…

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