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Specific Symptoms--A ListThe Body: Rick Sowadsky M.S.P.H., C.D.S, Answers to Safe Sex Questions
Jan 3, 1997

Could you please give us a comprehensive list of symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS? Also, do you ever think that we will move past the stigma and deal compassionately with the human elements of this disease? Yes, I guess I'm a dreamer...

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

AIDS is actually a group of more than 20 different diseases. It is therefore impossible to list every symptom associated with HIV/AIDS in this forum. There are literally dozens and dozens of symptoms related to HIV/AIDS. There's simply too many to make a complete list here.

Symptoms also vary greatly from one person to another. Not everyone with HIV/AIDS has the same sets of symptoms. You can take 10 people who have AIDS and they can have 10 different sets of symptoms. It's also possible to have HIV/AIDS and have no symptoms at all. Since every symptom of HIV/AIDS looks like the symptoms of other illnesses, we strongly depend on laboratory tests to make a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS.

As a general rule, if you have symptoms that last for more than 1-2 weeks, or are very severe, it's important to seek medical attention, regardless of what you think the problem is. Also, if you have put yourself at risk for HIV in the past, consider getting tested, regardless of whether you have symptoms or not.

So in summary, it's not realistic for me to list here every symptom of AIDS. There's simply too many to list. Also, having one or more of the many AIDS related symptoms is meaningless, since every symptom associated with HIV/AIDS looks like the symptoms of many other illnesses.

As time goes on, people are becoming more compassionate with persons with HIV/AIDS. This comes slowly over time as more and more people know someone personally who has this disease. Things are improving for persons with AIDS, although sometimes improvements just don't come fast enough.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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