Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS or Aids) is a collection of symptoms and infections resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The late stage of the condition leaves individuals prone to opportunistic infections and tumors. Although treatments for AIDS and HIV exist to slow the virus's progression, there is no known cure. HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid, and breast milk. This transmission can come in the form of anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding, or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids.
After Lingol returned from his encounter with the humanGaetan in the lands beyond the Door, he began experiencing strange fevers and weaknesses which soon worsened. Other elves with whom he interacted began to come down with the same, until it became clear that there was a terrible curse in action. Elves wasted away until life became unbearable, and they began to give up their lives in larger and larger numbers. All the while, none could determine what malevolent sorcerer had conjured this evil and why, nor why traditional healing magics could not remove the curse.
By 1999, three people of Nicole Gunther's acquaintance had died of AIDS. Two were gay men, and the other was a woman friend from law school, who hadn't known until too late that the man she'd had a brief affair with was bisexual. When Nicole, transported to Carnuntum in AD 170, first heard rumors of a pestilence spreading through the Roman Empire, she hoped it wouldn't be as deadly as the AIDS virus.
Stan remembered witnessing cases of the newly discovered AIDS virus in the 1980s. Three or four friends of his succumbed to the virus. Two of them got brain abscesses from toxoplasmosis and went into a state of dementia before finally dying.