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Victims remembered, advances noted on AIDS Day

At the end of 2014, an estimated 5,610 people were living with HIV/AIDS in Oklahoma. Of those, 52.9 percent were HIV cases and 47.1 were AIDS cases, according to ok.gov/health.

By the end of 2014, 42.7 percent (4,173) of a cumulative 9,783 people with HIV/AIDS who had been diagnosed in Oklahoma had died.

Those statistics  and the people they represent  will be remembered on Thursday, World AIDS Day.

AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. People who have AIDS have an increased susceptibility to life-threatening infections, cancers, and neurological disorders. HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, causes AIDS.

HIV is a virus spread through certain body fluids that attacks the body's immune system, specifically the CD4 cells, often called T cells, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can't fight off infections and disease. These special cells help the immune system fight off infections. Untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body. This damage to the immune system makes it harder and harder for the body to fight off infections and some other diseases. Opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS.

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