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When HIV changes into AIDS

Nov 11, 1996

After testing positive for HIV what is the qualifacations for it to become AIDS? At what T-cell count makes HIV to AIDS: 200 or 400?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question.

The definition of AIDS is a very specific one. In order to be diagnosed with AIDS, a person must meet the following requirements:

First, a person must be diagnosed with either HIV-1 or HIV-2.

Second, in addition to having HIV, a person must have one of the following:

A CD4 cell count less than 200.

A CD4 cell count less than 14%.

An opportunistic disease as defined by the US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A CD4 cell count, a T4 cell count, and a T helper cell count are all the same thing. If a person has HIV, and either #1, #2, or #3 above, they are considered to have AIDS. If a person doesn't have HIV, or doesn't meet one of the 3 additional criteria above, they do not meet the definition of AIDS.

Also, once a person is diagnosed with AIDS, they will always be considered to have AIDS, regardless of clinical changes later on. For example, if a person has HIV, and a CD4 cell count below 200, they are considered to have AIDS. If their CD4 cell count later goes back above 200, they are still considered to have AIDS.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide). Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS

ELISA and different HIV subtypes
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