AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the final and most serious stage of HIV disease, which causes severe damage to the immune system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AIDS begins when a person with HIV infection has a CD4 cell count below 200. AIDS is also defined by numerous opportunistic infections and cancers that occur in the presence of HIV infection. Symptoms Early infection: When first infected with HIV, you may have no signs or symptoms at all, although it's more common to develop a brief flu-like illness two to four weeks after becoming infected. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph glands
The symptoms of AIDS are primarily the result of infections that do not normally develop in individuals with healthy immune systems. These are called opportunistic infections. Patients with AIDS have had their immune system depleted by HIV and are very susceptible to such opportunistic infections. Common symptoms are fevers, sweats (particularly at night), swollen glands, chills, weakness and weight loss.