Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that attacks the immune system by invading it cells into the body and making it more susceptible to many infectious diseases. HIV destroys the most imperative cells in the human immune system like T helper cells, macrophages, specifically CD4+ cells. Infection on the immune system leads to the decreasing levels of CD4+ cells, thereby cell mediated immunity will be lost and body will become more susceptible to microbial infections. Initial stage of HIV is acute infection, which causes common symptoms like fever, large tender lymph nodes, throat inflammation, diarrhea, a rash, headache, sores of the mouth and genitals. After initial symptoms, the followed stage called clinical latency has occurred with chronic HIV and detectable viral load. The symptoms like weight loss, gastrointestinal problems and muscle pains will be seen at the end of this stage. The final stage called Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is defined in terms of CD4+ cell count and occurrence of specific disease associating with HIV infection. If HIV has diagnosed before the final stage it can be treating with the antiretroviral therapy which slows the expansion of the disease and decreases the risk of death.
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Last date updated on September, 2014