DETROIT, Nov. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) sends its thoughts and prayers to actor Charlie Sheen. However, in response to press coverage this week that Mr. Sheen is HIV positive and getting treatment for "this autoimmune disease," AARDA wants to correct the public record: HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is NOT an autoimmune disease.
HIV is an acquired virus that results in a breakdown of the immune system.
Autoimmunity is the exact opposite. With autoimmune disease, the body's immune system is overactive, mistakenly recognizing the body's own proteins as foreign invaders and produces antibodies that attack healthy cells and tissues, causing various diseases. Also, unlike HIV, autoimmune diseases are not infectious nor acquired.
"We wish Charlie Sheen all the best with his health in the years to come and hope he will helps us educate all Americans about the difference between HIV and autoimmune diseases," said Virginia Ladd, executive director, AARDA.
There are more than 100 known autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis, Graves' disease, Sjogren's syndrome, Type 1 diabetes, relapsing polychondritis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and lupus.
There is a genetic component to autoimmune disease. As a result, they can run in families. Autoimmune disease disproportionately affects women. Of the 50 million Americans living and coping with ADs, more than 75 percent are women. AD is one of the top 10 leading causes of death of women under the age of 65. It is responsible for more than $100 billion in direct health care costs annually.
About American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association
American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) is the nation's only non-profit organization dedicated to bringing a national focus to autoimmunity as a category of disease and a major women's health issue, and promoting a collaborative research effort in order to find better treatments and a cure for all autoimmune diseases. For more information, please visit www.aarda.org.
SOURCE American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA)