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 2013, there were an estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia - 3% of the global total. In the same year, there were roughly 110,000 new HIV infections and 53,000 AIDS-related deaths. Between 2005 and 2013, AIDS-related deaths increased by 5%. The first officially documented case of HIV in Russia (then the USSR) was diagnosed in March, 1987. In 1984, one patient had been diagnosed with HIV by a Soviet doctor, but the record of her case was expunged. Epidemiologists warn that up to 8 million Russians - over 10 percent of the adult population - could be infected by 2010, under worst-case scenarios. The epidemic is growing fastest among young people aged 15-30, the very same group that should be leading Russia into the 21st century.
Dr. Vadim Pokrovsky, director of the Russian Center for AIDS Prevention and Treatment, says that the number of people infected with HIV in Russia, China and the U.S. is about the same – between 900,000 and 1,400,000. Treatment is given preferentially to those individuals whose immune system demonstrates abnormalities. Resources for medicine are allotted from the federal budget, while local budgets cover the maintenance of hospitals and the salaries of medical workers. Modern medicine is still incapable of reversing the development of HIV infections, but it can slow them down and even permanently stop the worsening of the disease’s effects. However, the patient will have to take antiretroviral therapy (ARV) drugs for the rest of their life. In 2012 in the first phase of testing the vaccine for safety and activity the results were a success. However, the second and third phases (the fourth phase must be international) have still not taken place due to technical complications and a lack of volunteers and financing.