AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), severe form of immune deficiency caused by the HIV virus, which destroys the immune system of the human body. This may result in serious, as yet incurable, infections and tumour formation. AIDS was only identified at the beginning of the 1980s; the number of cases has also increased in Austria. By the end of 1996, approximately 1,700 individuals had contracted the disease in Austria, and more than half of them had died. In the course of the 1990s, medication has been developed which blocks the growth of HIV, thus preventing the further weakening of the immune system. Since 1994 and particularly since mid-1996 there has been a statistically significant decline in the number of both new cases and deaths on account of the widespread availability of this new medication. The Austrian AIDS Law of 1986 governs various aspects of public attitude vis-à-vis the disease, including the duty to report cases and the promotion of suitable preventive measures. Advisory centres of the AIDS Assistance Service have been set up in all the provincial capitals.
Literature#P. Kenis and C. Noestlinger, Handbuch AIDS, 1993.