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4 stages to HIV disease
      07/11/04 03:00 PM

AMFAR AIDS HANDBOOK (Chapter 4, Page 53 )

There are four stages to HIV disease

1) Acute Infection Stage (500-1200 CD4s)- begins immediately after hiv enters the body and starts multiplying in infected cells. Acute infection ends about 2-6 weeks later. Acute infection produces no noticeable symptoms in about half of the people affected. The others usually experience flu-like symptoms such as low-grade fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, rash, diarrhea, and muscle aches. These symptoms can last 2 weeks to 2 months, but only 20-30% of patients who experience them find it necessary to see a physician. Individuals with severe symptoms during acute infection are more likely are more likely to experience rapid disease progression (this is me, I think and the guy I infected, as we both got ill---very very profoundly).

2) Asymptomatic Stage - CD4 Lymphocyte count above 500 - This is the longest stage of HIV disease, lasting an average of 10 years, although in a few people it can be as short as 1 year or as long as 15 years. During this stage, most hiv infected individuals develop few symptoms of HIV disease. It is almost as if the virus has gone underground. This is not however a state of latent infection: in more than 95% of infected people, the virus is rapidly multiplying.

3) Early HIV disease: CD4 200-500 asymptomatic hiv disease gradually changes to early hiv disease during the slow drop in cd4s. the change often becomes apparent with the development of one or more characteristic opportunistic infections (such as candidiasis, herpes simplex disease, shingles, oral hairy leukoplakia. bacterial infections that cause bronchitis, sinusitis, and pneumonia also often increase. (I believe I am in this stage because my tcells are at 410 and I am starting to get tumors-one removed from my breast and 3 others noted on my lungs and thyroids----which the docs are watching. ugh!).

4) Advanced HIV disease (AIDS) CD4 below 200 - Early hiv disease progresses to advance with th e further decline of cd4 cell counts and gradual appearance of serious opportunistic infections and cancers

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