What can cause an acquired immunodeficiency?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Acquired immunodeficiencies can result from an infection by a virus or other germ, or from certain medications or radiation. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), is an example of a virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency. The virus attacks the immune system itself, which means the patient's immune system cannot fight off common infections. The HIV virus destroys T cells. Besides T cells, it also invades macrophages, where it splices its genetic material into that of the cell it infects, forcing the cell to churn out new viruses.

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