AIDS is short for "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome." AIDS was first reported in the United States in 1981. Since then, it has since become a significant worldwide epidemic. AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Initially, an HIV infection usually does not cause any obvious symptoms (see HIV Symptoms). However, by killing or damaging cells of the body's immune system, HIV will eventually begin to progressively destroy the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers (see AIDS Symptoms).
HIV is often spread through sexual contact with an infected partner. HIV transmission also happens through contact with infected blood, which frequently occurs among IV drug users (who share needles or syringes contaminated with blood from someone infected with the virus). Women with HIV can transmit the virus to their babies during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.
Epivir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. In fact, there is currently no known cure for HIV or AIDS. Also, Epivir is not intended to be used alone. Instead, it is used as part of an HIV "cocktail." These cocktails usually consist of three or four (sometimes even five) different HIV medications (technically known as highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART). Using combinations of medications helps to prevent the virus from becoming resistant to one or more of the drugs.