AIDS SymptomsHIV virus causing AIDS enters the blood and quickly penetrates white cells. Then they program the white cells, after whichthere is often little or no trace of the AIDS virus at all. This situation usually lasts for six to twelve weeks.During this time the person is free of HIV or AIDS symptoms and antibody tests for AIDS and HIV are negative.
First Symptoms of AIDS Illness (HIV Infection)
First thing that starts developing in a flu like illness, which may look like glandular fever with swollen glandsin the neck and armpits. At this stage the blood test will usually become positive as it picks up the tell-tale antibodies.Most people do not realise what is happening, although when they later develop AIDS they look back and remember itclearly. Most people have produced antibodies in about twelve weeks.
The person in this stage has a positive HIV test. The virus often seems to disappear completely from the blood again.At least nine out of ten who see these HIV and AIDS symptoms will develop further problems.
San Francisco studies show that in developed countries, without use of the latest therapies:
The next HIV AIDS symptoms stage begins when the immune system starts to break down. This is often preceded by subtlemutations in the virus, during which it becomes more aggressive in damaging white cells. Several glands in the neck andarmpits may swell and remain swollen for more than three months without any explanation. This is known as persistentgeneralised lymphadenopathy (PGL).
- 50% with HIV develop AIDS in ten years
- 70% with HIV develop AIDS in fourteen years
- Of those with AIDS, 94% are dead in five years
Early HIV Virus Progression
As the HIV disease progresses, the person starts showin up other AIDS symptoms. A simple boil or warts may spread allover the body. The mouth may become infected by thrush (thick white coating), or may develop some other problem.Dentists are often the first to be in a position to make the diagnosis. People may develop severe shingles (painful blisters in a band of red skin), or herpes. They may feel overwhelmingly tired all the time, have high temperatures, drenching night sweats, lose more than 10% of their body weight, and have diarrhoea lasting more than a month. No other cause is found and a blood test will usually be positive. Some used to call this stage ARC, or AIDS related complex.
Late HIV Illness - The AIDS Symptoms
The final stage is AIDS. Most of the immune system is intact and the body can deal with most infections, but one or twomore unusual infections become almost impossible for the body to get rid of without medical help, usually intensiveantibiotics.
These infections can be a nightmare for doctors and patients. The desperate struggle is to find the new germ, identify it,and give the right drug in huge doses to kill it. The germ may be hiding deep in a lung requiring a tube (bronchoscope) tobe put down the windpipe into the lung to get a sample. The person is sedated for this. It may be hiding in thefluid covering the brain and spinal cord, requiring a needle to be put into the spine (lumbar puncture).It may be hiding in the brain itself. It may hide in the liver or gall-bladder or bowel. It can hide anywhere.