- a disease in which there is a severe loss of the body’s cellular immunity, greatly lowering the resistance to infection and malignancy.
AIDS was first identified in the early 1980s and now affects millions of people. The cause is a virus (called the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV) transmitted in blood and in sexual fluids, and although the incubation period may be long and treatment can slow the course of the disease there is currently no cure or vaccine. In the developed world the disease first spread among homosexuals, intravenous drug users, and recipients of infected blood transfusions, before reaching the wider population. This has tended to overshadow a greater epidemic in parts of Africa, where transmission is mainly through heterosexual contact
1980s: acronym for acquired immune deficiency syndrome