from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A severe immunological disorder caused by the retrovirus HIV, resulting in a defect in cell-mediated immune response that is manifested by increased susceptibility to opportunistic infections and to certain rare cancers, especially Kaposi's sarcoma. It is transmitted primarily by exposure to infected body fluids, especially blood and semen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • initialism pathology acquired immune deficiency syndrome

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a serious (often fatal) disease of the immune system transmitted through blood products especially by sexual contact or contaminated needles


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

a(cquired) i(mmune) d(eficiency) s(yndrome).


  • It started in the 1980s when the disease was termed GRID Gay Related Immune Deficiency; President Reagan refused to even say the word AIDS for four years and the epidemic decimated entire communities in this country all the while.

    Kat Griffith: The Human Costs of HIV Stigma, And What You Can Do to Change the Story

  • The medical community, meanwhile, tends to refer to the sickness on a case-by-case basis, by the names of diseases associated with it, before correctly identifying the disease and using the term AIDS acquired immunodeficiency syndrome by 1982.

    World AIDS Day: timeline of a worldwide pandemic (Photos)

  • I kid you not—the first time I heard the word AIDS was when someone was telling me that only green monkeys and Africans could catch it.

    Follow the Model

  • Young antiapartheid activists claimed the acronym AIDS really meant “Afrikaner Invention to Deprive Us of Sex.”

    No Place Left to Bury the Dead

  • And Ronald Reagan couldn't bring himself to say the word AIDS until 1987, after tens of thousands of gay men had already died.

    NPR Topics: News

  • Speaking a quarter of a century after the term AIDS was coined, Dr De Cock said large-scale heterosexual spread was unlikely to occur anywhere outside sub-Saharan Africa, where more than

    The Jawa Report

  • Keith Henry, a medical professor at the University of Minnesota and a physician specializing in HIV care, said the term AIDS "still has great value epidemiologically" in tracking how well


  • It took Ronald Reagan seven years to even say the word "AIDS."

    Q&A With Dan Savage: On Obama, Fox News' Shepard Smith and Success of 'It Gets Better' Project

  • Those whose lives have been touched by the AIDS crisis will well remember how the United States Government tried to avoid even mentioning the word "AIDS" during the Reagan administration even as close personal friends of the President and his wife --like Roy Cohn -- succumbed to the disease.

    George Heymont: Speaking Truth to Power

  • Before the premature deaths of Zontal and Partz in 1994, the trio had ensconced themselves with international cult status chiefly for what became the premiere icon of the Age of AIDS -- their mimicry of Robert Indiana's 1960's LOVE paintings unto which they supplanted, in Indiana style and a variety of colors, the word AIDS.

    G. Roger Denson: MoMA and AA Bronson Present "Queer Cinema: Today and Yesterday"


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