AIDS stands for Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome. It is the final stage of infection by the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) when the body drastically loses its ability to fight off illness.
HIV is transmitted through various forms of sexual intercourse, through transfusions of contaminated blood, through the sharing of hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth and breast-feeding.
The HIV virus originated in west-central Africa during the early 20th century, but was not identified as the cause of AIDS until the 1980s. By today, about 25 million people worldwide are known to have died of AIDS, and about 34 million are living with HIV infection. However, HIV infection is now under better control than previously because of the the use of antiretrovirals drugs, which prevent the virus from multiplying within the body.
Click here to read 10 facts about HIV/AIDS.
Click here to read some detailed statistical information about HIV/AIDS in Britain.
Click here to read an article written in 2011 about the effect of AIDS on the gay community in Britain.