AIDS is a syndrome caused by the HIV virus. It is when a person’s immune system is too weak to fight off many infections, and develops when the HIV infection is very advanced. This is the last stage of HIV infection where the body can no longer defend itself and may develop various diseases, infections and if left untreated, death. There is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS. However, with the right treatment and support, people can live long and healthy lives with HIV.
1. It may cause influenza-like illness, tuberculosis, opportunistic infections and tumors, pneumocystis pneumonia, severe weight loss, Kaposi's sarcoma. The time period usually ranges from 6 months (rarely) to 15+ years. HIV infection passes through a series of steps or stages before it turns into AIDS. These stages of infection as outlined in 1993 by the Centers for Disease Control. Seroconversion illness – this occurs in 1 to 6 weeks after acquiring the infection. The feeling is similar to a bout of flu.
2. Asymptomatic infection – After seroconversion, virus levels are low and replication continues slowly. CD4 and CD8 lymphocyte levels are normal. This stage has no symptoms and may persist for years together.
3. Persistent generalised lymphadenopathy (PGL) – The lymph nodes in these patients are swollen for three months or longer and not due to any other cause.
4. Symptomatic infection – This stage manifests with symptoms. In addition, there may be opportunistic infections. This collection of symptoms and signs is referred to as the AIDS-related complex (ARC) and is regarded as a prodrome or precursor to AIDS.
In Hong Kong, the first case of HIV infection was reported in 1984. Under the voluntary HIV/AIDS reporting system, Department of Health has received a total of 3198 reports of HIV infection at the end of 2006. It is estimated that in 2005 there were 3240 people living with HIV infection in Hong Kong, giving an overall prevalence in adult population of < 0.1%. The number of AIDS reports has been maintained at a stable level of about 60 cases annually since the availability of HAART in the mid-90s. At present, PCP and tuberculosis are the commonest primary AIDS-defining illness in Hong Kong. The first case of HIV infection in Hong Kong was reported in 1984. As of end 2011, under the voluntary and anonymous HIV/AIDS reporting system, the Department of Health has received a total of 5,270 reports of HIV infection and 1,267 cases of AIDS . Sixty-three reported cases were children less than 18 years including 26 perinatally-transmitted and 29 transfusion related cases. For the caring of HIV patients, the Integrated Treatment Centre specialises in clinical care of ambulatory HIV and AIDS patients, and provides primary prevention to their partners.
The Kowloon Bay Integrated Treatment Centre (KBITC) was opened in 1999. It is a multi-purpose building developed on the concept of integrated prevention and care of HIV patient. The Integrated Treatment Centre is the main premises for clinical care of ambulatory HIV-infected patients in the Department of Health. Counselling provides knowledge about HIV and treatment, and empowers the patient to make the best informed choice in management of disease. The HIV Medicine and Care Programme is one of four main core programmes of Special Preventive Programme. It consists of clinical services provided in the Integrated Treatment Center, and HIV testing and counselling services by the AIDS Hotline. The Red Ribbon Centre is a community-based AIDS education, resource and research centre under the government, which incorporates a collaborative approach to partner with the community and to support community-based initiatives.