Treatment training manual

1. 3 Definition of AIDS (SIDA)

Since effective treatment, the terms AIDS/SIDA are used much more rarely – see note below.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

  • Acquired – because it is largely an infection that people get.
  • Immune – because it relates to your immune system.
  • Deficiency – because it reduces your immune system and makes it deficient.
  • Syndrome – because it describes a collection of different infections and illness caused by HIV.

For many people the meaning of the words that make up AIDS do not mean very much until they are explained.

SIDA is the abbreviation for AIDS in French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

Since effective treatment (ART), the word AIDS is now much less used as a term for a medical diagnosis. It was historically used in the early years of the epidemic as an indication of advanced stage of illness. This distinction between being HIV positive and having AIDS is rarely used.

Referring to someone as being HIV positive is now more accurate.

Last updated: 1 January 2016.