Patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases are born with the disorder because of a genetic mutation passed down by one or both parents. Newborn screening tests help identify babies with primary immunodeficiency diseases.
Acquired, or secondary, immune deficiency diseases are caused by outside sources. These sources may be infections or toxins. AIDS is one such disease that is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus is passed through bodily fluids, such as blood and semen. Although mothers with HIV/AIDS can pass the virus to their babies at birth, it is not considered a primary immunodeficiency disease. Learn more about HIV/AIDS in our Infectious Diseases Program.