Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 23-25

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome

  • Brian P. DalyAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health, Temple University
  • , Cindy BuchananAffiliated withDepartment of Behavioral Health, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


Acquired immune deficiency syndrome; AIDS; Immunodeficiency​ syndrome acquired; Immunologic deficiency syndrome acquired


AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is a viral disease that destroys the body’s ability to fight infection.


AIDS is the final stage of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV finds and destroys white blood cells (T cells or CD4 cells) that the immune system needs to fight disease. HIV disease is transmitted through blood or semen and occurs in three major ways: through sexual activity if the body fluids become exposed to each other, in intravenous drug use if contaminated needles are shared, and from an infected mother to her baby. The diagnosis of AIDS is made when an individual is infected by the HIV, has a CD4-positive T-lymphocyte count under 200 cells/microliter or less than 14% of total lymphocytes, and increased susceptibility to opportunistic infections and malignant neoplasms [1].

Opportunistic infe ...

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