ACUTE: The initial infection, with a brief flulike illness similar to mononucleosis
Included in the symptoms mayu be nausea, swollen lymph glands, a sore throat, and a fever.
These symptams are obviously not unique to HIV at this early time. The inflammation of the brain, called encelaphalopathy, can lead
to headaches and fevers, sometimes associated with a loss of memory and a changes in personality (dementia).
This acute stage usually lasts a few days to a few weeks, and a significant number of people display no symptoms.
CHRONIC (SYMPTOMATIC): Following the acute phase the infected person will usually feel well, but will become seropositve (display antibodies) to the HIV infection. It is possible for the infection to be completely silent (latent) for a number of months, but it usually enters a persistent or chronic mode of 2-12 years in an adult, where the T-4 cells are gradually being depleted but few other symptoms are noticeabie.
Slowly but surely, the immune system slowly loses the battle. As the T4 cells continue to decline, a number of HIV disease symptoms gradually appear. They inciude chronic lympnadenopathy (swollen lymph glands), wasting syndrome (sudden weight loss and night sweats, unexplaned fever), and some neurological symptoms such as dementia (impared mental function). The difference now is that these symptoms no longer go away, but continue to worsen. This stage of the disease just preceding the appearance of opportunistic infections, goes by various names including Pre-AIDS, AIDS Related Complex (ARC), PGL (Persistent Generalized Lymphadenopathy) or LAS (Lympnadenopathy Syndrome)
CRISIS: The immune system is getting beat. It lowers down to 200-300 T cells per microliter of blood, and the infected person will begin to experience persistent fungal and viral infections that will not heal. These include Herpes infections, Thrush, Hairy Leukoplakia, and Shingles. Then even more serious opportunistic infections develop as the immune system falters and the T cell count drops even further. The infected person now has full blown AIDS. It will be just a few years or even months before an opportunistic infection will end the person's life.
Listed below are some of the experimental and marketed drugs used in the fight against HIV.
1. Blocks virus from attaching to T-4 Cells