Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a disease which causes the body’s immune system to attack itself. If left untreated, HIV can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV. It currently has no cure.
Possible signs and symptoms include:
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Sore throat and painful mouth sores
- Swollen lymph glands, mainly on the neck
Common symptoms of AIDS include chills, fever, sweats, swollen lymph glands, weakness, and weight loss.
Stages of the Illness
Stage 1: Acute HIV infection
Within 2 to 4 weeks after infection with HIV, people may experience a flu-like illness, which may last for a few weeks. When people have acute HIV infection, they have a large amount of virus in their blood, but people with acute infection are often unaware that they’re infected because they may not feel sick right away or at all.
Stage 2: Clinical latency (HIV inactivity or dormancy)
This period is sometimes called chronic HIV infection. During this phase, HIV is still active but reproduces at very low levels. People may not have any symptoms or get sick during this time. For people who aren’t taking medicine to treat HIV, this period can last a decade or longer, but some may progress through this phase faster.
Stage 3: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
AIDS is the most severe phase of HIV infection. People with AIDS have such badly damaged immune systems that they get an increasing number of severe illnesses.
When is it time to contact Capital Caring?
- Decision has been made to forego antiretroviral, antibacterial, antifungal, chemotherapeutic and drug therapy related specifically to the AIDS diagnosis.
- Persistent, chronic diarrhea.
- Significant weight loss of 10 percent or more in the past three months.