Augusta Free Press

VCU hosts Twitter chat with HIV/AIDS expert on Tuesday

In recognition of World AIDS Day, experts at Virginia Commonwealth University Health are available to answer questions about the disease and provide up-to-date information on current research. VCU HIV/AIDS Center clinical director Veronica Ayala-Sims, M.D., will facilitate a Twitter chat on the topic from noon to 1 p.m. on Dec. 1.

HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. AIDS is a syndrome caused by the HIV virus that develops when a person’s immune system is too weak to fight off many infections. It is the last stage of HIV, developing only when the infection is very advanced.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, almost 78 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 39 million people have died from the disease. Globally, approximately 35 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2013, according to the World Health Organization. While no effective cure exists for HIV, the symptoms of the disease can be controlled with proper medical care and people who have been infected with the virus can live long and healthy lives.

Everyone is invited to sign into their Twitter accounts and join the conversation to have their questions answered by Ayala-Sims from 2 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 1. Just remember to use the hashtag #VCUHealthChat when posting questions and comments.

Questions can be submitted in advance via Twitter using #VCUHealthChat and @VCUHealth on Twitter.