Late symptomatic



Keywords: late symptomatic, early symptomatic hiv infection overview
Description: Early symptomatic HIV infection includes persistent generalized lymphadenopathy, often the earliest symptom of primary HIV infection; oral lesions such as thrush and oral hairy leukoplakia; hematologic disturbances such as hypoproliferative anemia and thrombocytopenia; neurologic disorders such as aseptic meningitis; and dermatologic disorder...

Early symptomatic HIV infection includes persistent generalized lymphadenopathy, often the earliest symptom of primary HIV infection; oral lesions such as thrush and oral hairy leukoplakia; hematologic disturbances such as hypoproliferative anemia and thrombocytopenia; neurologic disorders such as aseptic meningitis; and dermatologic disorders such as varicella-zoster virus (shingles).

The clinical effects of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are diverse, ranging from an acute retroviral syndrome associated with primary HIV infection to a prolonged asymptomatic state to advanced HIV disease. Experts regard HIV disease as beginning at the time of primary (acute) HIV infection and progressing through numerous stages of chronic infection.

Acute HIV infection is defined as the period between exposure to the virus and completion of the initial immune responses. This period varies but generally lasts 2-3 months. During this time, antibody tests may be negative for HIV, but the serum viral load (the amount of HIV virus in the blood) is detectable and can be quite high (millions of copies per milliliter).

In most infected individuals, active virus replication and progressive immunologic impairment occur throughout the course of HIV infection, even during the clinically latent stage. Chronic HIV disease can be divided empirically based on the degree of immunodeficiency into the following stages:

    Early stage - CD4 + T-cell count >500/µL Intermediate stage - CD4 + T-cell count 200-500/µL Advanced stage - CD4 + T-cell count < 200/µL

Approximately 70% of patients with HIV infection develop symptoms during the acute infection period, [1] although some reports of symptomatic acute HIV infection are likely associated with a reporting bias, and the actual frequency may be lower. Symptoms associated with HIV seroconversion are nonspecific and may be attributed to a viral syndrome such as influenza virus infection.

Complex changes occur in the immune system during the acute infection period, including rapid depletion of CD4 cells. Anti-HIV antibodies are produced, and cytotoxic CD8 + lymphocytes destroy HIV-infected cells. Unfortunately, the response is imperfect, and latent reservoirs of HIV infection become established throughout the body.

Chronic HIV infection begins after antibodies to the virus have fully developed and the initial immune response is complete. HIV disease with active virus replication usually progresses during this asymptomatic period, and the rate of disease progression correlates directly with HIV RNA levels. Individuals with high levels of HIV RNA progress to symptomatic HIV disease faster than patients with low levels of HIV RNA.

Some individuals develop symptoms or organ dysfunction during chronic infection due to direct effects of the virus rather than a defect in cell-mediated immunity. Some infected persons who are otherwise asymptomatic develop persistent generalized lymphadenopathy (PGL) during this time. With few exceptions, CD4 cell counts decline progressively during this asymptomatic period, at an average rate of approximately 50 cells/µL/y.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the condition that results from long-term (chronic) HIV infection and is defined by an absolute CD4 cell count of less than 200 cells/µL and specific opportunistic infections or malignancies. The interval between acute HIV infection and AIDS is highly variable, with a median time of approximately 10 years. In many infected individuals, an opportunistic disease is the first manifestation of HIV infection. When the CD4 cell count falls to below approximately 200 cells/µL, the resulting state of immunodeficiency places the individual at high risk for opportunistic infections and neoplasms (clinically apparent HIV disease).






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