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Larry Chiaramonte, Allergy & Immunology, answeredAs press coverage of the AIDS epidemic told us, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) gradually exhausts the body's ability to combat the virus. Killer T cells attack HIV but the virus is resourceful and regenerates itself in new variations that find ways of circumventing medication. This literally wears out the immune system. Deprived of their defenses, most AIDS patients die from "opportunistic infections" -- illnesses such as pneumonia that someone with a fully functioning immune system would be able to fight off.