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Transmissible disease of the immune system caused by HIV. AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection, during which time the individual develops frequently fatal infections and cancers, including Pneumocystis cariniipneumonia, cytomegalovirus (CMV), lymphoma, and Kaposi sarcoma. The first AIDS cases were identified in 1981, HIV was isolated in 1983, and blood tests were developed by 1985. According to the UN's 2004 report on AIDS, some 38 million people are living with HIV, approximately 5 million people become infected annually, and about 3 million people die each year from AIDS. Some 20 million people have died of the disease since 1981. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for some 70 percent of all HIV infections. Rates of infection are lower in other parts of the world, but the epidemic is spreading rapidly in eastern Europe, India, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Variants of AIDS
AIDS in full acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on AIDS, visit Britannica.com.