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What are the symptoms of AIDS?

Dr Louisa Draper

"Once a HIV infection has progressed, it causes AIDS. The symptoms of AIDS can vary, depending on the secondary infections a patient suffers from."

Dr Louisa Draper

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HIV life expectency
When a HIV infection remains untreated, it eventually progresses and becomes AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a condition which occurs when your immune system is weakened by the HIV virus. Patients who suffer from AIDS are susceptible to infections which a healthy immune system would fight off.

HIV can go unnoticed for a long time, as there are not necessarily noticeable HIV symptoms. However, when HIV progresses and causes AIDS, patients may experience severe symptoms.

Top 5 Questions about AIDS

1. What is AIDS?

AIDS occurs in the late stages of a HIV infection. Patients who suffer from AIDS tend to suffer from infections because their immune system has been damaged by the virus.

2. Can AIDS be treated?

AIDS is treated with HIV medication and additional drugs to control opportunistic infections.

3. What should I do if I think I have AIDS symptoms?

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of AIDS you need to visit your doctor immediately. If you have had unprotected sex and think you have contracted HIV you can use a home test kit to get tested. In both cases, you should avoid having sex (especially unprotected sex) until you are sure that you do not have HIV to protect your partner from getting infected.

4. How can I tell whether I have AIDS?

It is very difficult to diagnose AIDS (or HIV) based on the symptoms, as the symptoms can vary. In order to get diagnosed, you need to have a blood test.

5. My symptoms are getting better, do I still need to get tested?

If you are suffering from any symptoms that you think may be due to a HIV infection you must always see a doctor, even if the symptoms get better. Delaying your diagnosis or treatment is likely to make you worse and can put your sexual partners at risk.