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When does HIV become Aids
Sep 16, 2006

At what stage does HIV become Aids

Response from Dr. Daar

Thank you for your question.

Just to be clear, HIV is the virus that creates a situation where a person becomes at risk for, and can develop many different medical problems, including specific types of unusual infections, certain types of cancer, unexplained weight loss and neurologic disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a definition for what they refer to as the syndrome AIDS. The current definition includes a long list of infections, select types of cancer, unexplained severe weight loss, dementia, as well as any CD4 cell count of less than 200 cells/uL. Therefore, anyone with HIV who develops any of these conditions or a CD4 cell count of less than 200 would be defined as having AIDS.

To be quite honest, most clinicians see little value in this somewhat arbitrary definition and tend to think of HIV disease as an illness that includes some who have no symptoms, others with mild symptoms, and then others with severe symptoms, the latter often including conditions included in the definition of AIDS.

Best, Eric


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