AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)

It is possible that the main title of the report AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
  • AIDS related complex
  • ARC
  • AIDS Prodrome
  • Wasting/Lymph Node Syndrome
  • Mini-AIDS
  • AIDS-Related Complex (ARC)

AIDS is an infectious disorder that suppresses the normal function of the immune system. It is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which destroys the body's ability to fight infections. Specific cells of the immune system that are responsible for the proper response to infections (T cells) are destroyed by this virus. Characteristically a person infected with HIV initially experiences no symptoms for a variable period of time. This may be followed by the development of persistent generalized swelling of the lymph nodes (AIDS-related lymphadenopathy). Eventually most patients infected with HIV experience a syndrome of symptoms that includes excessive fatigue, weight loss, and/or skin rashes.

The later stages of HIV infection are characterized by the progressive depression of T cells and repeated infections that can even occur during a course of antibiotic therapy for another infection (superinfections). People with AIDS are particularly vulnerable to "opportunistic infections" from bacteria that other people normally fight off. Pneumocystis carinii, which causes severe inflammation of the lungs (pneumonia), is a common infection that affects people with AIDS. Cancers (malignant neoplasms), and a wide variety of neurological abnormalities, most notably the AIDS dementia complex, may also occur. These neurological symptoms when of HIV, infects the nervous system.

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. 90 John St. Suite 704 New York, NY 10038 Tel: (212)819-9770 Fax: (212)819-9776 Email: Internet:

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

120 Wall Street 13th Floor New York, NY 10005-3908 USA Tel: (212)806-1600 Fax: (212)806-1601 Tel: (800)392-6327 Email: Internet:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Road NE Atlanta, GA 30333 Tel: (404)639-3534 Tel: (800)232-4636 TDD: (888)232-6348 Email: Internet:

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Office of Communications and Government Relations 6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612 Bethesda, MD 20892-6612 Tel: (301)496-5717 Fax: (301)402-3573 Tel: (866)284-4107 TDD: (800)877-8339 Email: Internet:

American Social Health Association

P.O. Box 13827 Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 Tel: (919)361-8400 Fax: (919)361-8425 Email: Internet:

HIV/AIDS Treatment Information Service

P.O. Box 6303 Rockville, MD 20849-6303 Tel: (301)519-0459 Fax: (301)519-6616 Tel: (800)448-0440 TDD: (888)480-3739 Email: Internet:

CDC Business Responds

to AID/Labor Responds to AIDS

P.O. Box 6003 Rockville, MD 20849-6003 Tel: (877)242-9760 Fax: (301)562-1050 Tel: (301)562-1098 TDD: (240)514-2780 Email: Internet:

Health Information Network

P.O. Box 30762 7211 Greenwood Ave N. Seattle, WA 98113 USA Tel: (206)784-5655 Fax: (203)784-3240 Email: Internet:

Hemophilia Federation of America

210 7th St. SE Suite 200B Washington, DC 20003 USA Tel: (202)675-6984 Fax: (202)675-6983 Tel: (800)230-9797 Email: Internet:


P.O. Box 4780 Rockville, MD 20849-6303 USA Fax: (305)315-2818 Tel: (800)448-0440 TDD: (888)480-3739 Email: Internet:

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126 Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126 Tel: (301)251-4925 Fax: (301)251-4911 Tel: (888)205-2311 TDD: (888)205-3223 Internet:

Center for Peripheral Neuropathy

University of Chicago 5841 South Maryland Ave, MC 2030 Chicago, IL 60637 Tel: (773)702-5659 Fax: (773)702-5577 Internet:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 8/8/2007
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