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What is AIDS-related complex? I heard of it but I can't get a definite answer.

Sep 20, 2006

Mr. Frascino, A friend of mine was telling me of a client of hers who's daughter was diagnosed with ARC (AIDS-related complex) and I didn't have a clue what she was talking about. My friend briefly explained as it was where your body hasn't made enough hiv antibodies in your system for the doctors to fully diagnois you with HIV. But when I did an internet search on this, I came up with many different answers none in which my friend described ARC as. So if it is possible to educate me and others on what ARC is so that I can also educate my friend who work sometimes reflect in helping HIV clients maintain an healthy living. Thanks so very much! I find your site very helpful and informative and I appreciate you taking time out to help us out with our questions!

Response from Dr. Frascino


ARC (AIDS-Related Complex) is an historical term that was used to describe an HIV-positive person who was experiencing some symptoms, such as fever or swollen glands, but who did not meet the strict criteria for a diagnosis of AIDS. Your friend is mistaken. Folks who had ARC were definitely HIV-infected and therefore would test HIV positive on HIV-antibody tests. The term ARC always raised some degree of confusion and that's probably why it was abandoned quite some time ago. Today we would characterize an "ARC patient" as someone with "symptomatic HIV disease." Symptomatic HIV disease is defined as follows:

1. HIV-antibody positive (HIV-infected)

2. Symptomatic (experiencing any of a wide variety of non-AIDS-defining symptoms, including thrust, generalized lymphadenopathy, fevers, etc.)

3. Not meeting the criteria for an AIDS diagnosis. (We used to call this "full-blown AIDS," but that didn't really make any sense either, because there is no such thing as partially blown AIDS!)

Hope that helps clarify things for you.

Dr. Bob

grateful ocd'er
Where are you????

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