Symptoms and Signs of HIV and AIDS

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Medically Reviewed on 11/19/2021

Doctor's Notes on HIV and AIDS

Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is a virus that is transmitted by contact with body fluids of an infected person. The HIV virus weakens the body’s immune system, making it more difficult to fight infections and cancer. AIDA or acquired immune deficiency syndrome¬†is the more advanced stage of infection. HIV infection progresses to AIDS when certain infections or cancers are present or when a person’s CD4 cell (a type of immune cell) count is less than 200.

The initial infection with HIV may or may not cause symptoms. Some people get flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, fatigue, and muscle aches, within a few weeks after they have been infected. A person can have HIV for many years before developing any symptoms. Signs and symptoms associated with the progression of HIV infection to AIDS can include:

What Is the Treatment for HIV and AIDS?

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the mainstay of treatment for HIV infection. Experts recommend starting these treatments as soon as infection with the HIV virus has been diagnosed. ART is given as a combination of medications that must be taken every day.

There are multiple different classes of drugs that have been developed to treat HIV infection. An ART regimen usually includes drugs from at least two different classes.

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REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.