People who have known me for any length of time are aware that I have lupus. I was 16 years old when I learned I have the disease, on the young end of the typical age range when women are diagnosed.
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune illness which can affect any part of the body. Lupus differs from the more well-known autoimmune diseases HIV and AIDS in that with those two illnesses, the immune system is underactive, while with lupus it's overactive.
It's believed that 50 million people in the world have lupus; 70% of these cases are Systemic (also known as Lupus Erythmatosus or SLE). Lupus is not infectious or cancerous, and it is very difficult to diagnose. (I was ill for over a year and saw several different physicians before it was determined that I had lupus.) No one knows what causes lupus, and no single test can diagnose it.
More information about Lupus and Lupus Awareness Month can be found here.