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Alternate Names: Human immunodeficiency virus; acquired immune deficiency syndrome
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which attacks the body’s immune system. This assault makes the infected person susceptible to opportunistic infections normally fought off by a healthy immune system. HIV is spread through blood and certain other bodily fluids. About 90 percent of children with HIV are infected through their HIV-positive mothers, either before or during birth.
Currently there is no cure for HIV / AIDS. With new therapies, however, HIV has become a chronic disease, and infected persons are living many years. This increased survival rate requires life-long medication.
The best hope for treating HIV / AIDS may be finding the right combination of drugs to stop the mother-to-infant transmission of the virus and inhibit the replication of HIV within an infected person’s body. Discovery of new medications and the best way to administer them with the fewest side effects is a major goal of our researchers.
The St. Jude Web site is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through this site should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.