How long is the window period for AIDS and why is there such a thing?
What is AIDS and how is it contracted?
I don't know what you mean by "window period". There is a latent period
after infection by the virus and before symptoms appear. This is about 6-7 years
on the average, but we don't understand it very well. What is AIDS? The letters
stand for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is a viral infection of one
particular type of white blood cell, or lymphocyte, called a "helper cell". When
these cells are killed, your immune system can no longer fight off infections,
and you die of other infections. These other infections, which in a normal person
are almost non-existent, attack the brain and the lungs most often, so many AIDS
victims die of a particular type of pneumonia. We have no effective treatment and
no vaccine as yet. The virus is contagious, but only through intimate contact, not
casual day-to-day contact.
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Update: June 2012