What do the acronyms HIV and AIDS stand for?


HIV and AIDS are terms that are often used together, and sometimes are used interchangably, though they are not the same thing. They are both acronymns, and are related:

H - Human: because this virus can only infect human beings.
I - Immuno-deficiency: because the effect of the virus is to create a deficiency, or a failure to work properly, within the body's immune system.
V - Virus: because this organism is a virus, which means one of its characteristics is that it is incapable of reproducing by itself. It reproduces by taking over the machinery of the human cell.

A - Acquired: because it is a condition one must acquire or get infected with; not something transmitted through the genes
I - Immune: because it affects the body's immune system, the part of the body which usually works to fight off germs such as bacteria and viruses
D - Deficiency: because it makes the immune system deficient (makes it not work properly)
S - Syndrome: because someone with AIDS may experience a wide range of different diseases and opportunistic infections

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