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HIV and AIDS - Symptoms

When one first becomes infected with HIV, it is known as primary infection. Some people develop symptoms at this time such as sore throat, fever, rash, lethargy and headache; these symptoms can last up to 3 weeks. Because these symptoms are non-specific and similar to other viral infections (including respiratory viral infections), the diagnosis of primary HIV infection is often missed. 

After primary infection settles, one can remain without any symptoms for several years (up to 10 years in some cases). Although these HIV infected individuals remain asymptomatic, HIV continues to multiply in their body and the number of CD4 cells falls progressively. During this period, infected individuals do not realise that they are infected, and can continue to pass on the virus to others through sexual transmission or when others come into contact with their blood.

In time, as the body immune system continue to weaken, problems start to develop. These can include but are not limited to the following symptoms such as repeated mouth ulcers, shingles, profound weight loss, fever, non resolving diarrhoea, prolonged cough, breathlessness and general feeling of being unwell. Such symptoms are often associated with opportunitic infections or AIDS defining malignancies. 

Patients with advanced HIV / AIDS can develop opportunistic infections. Some of the more common opportunistic infections include but are not limited to the following conditions such as Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia, Cryptococcosis, oesophageal candidiasis, viral infections (e.g. Cytomegalovirus, Herpes simplex virus (HSV), Varicella-zoster virus (VZV), JC virus),    Toxoplasma gondii encephalitis, tuberculous and non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections, invasive bacterial infections (e.g. Salmonellosis, recurrent Streptococcus pneumoniae pnuemonia) as well as parasitic infections (e.g. chronic microsporidiosis, cryptosporidiosis and isosporiasis). Apart from infections, certain cancers such as cervical cancer, lymphoma and Kaposi Sarcoma can also develop in patients with advanced HIV / AIDS.

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HIV and AIDS - Post-surgery care

HIV and AIDS - Other Information

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