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Signs and Symptoms of AIDS - The Genitourinary System II

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3-6.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HIV
The person infected with human immunodeficiency virus may have not
symptoms at all or symptoms of AIDS. Most people infected with this virus have no
symptoms and are what is called "healthy carriers."
3-7.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF AIDS
Some people with AIDS have no symptoms and seem healthy until they abruptly
develop an opportunistic infection or Kaposi's sarcoma. Other patients have a recent
history of nonspecific signs and symptoms. These signs and symptoms are displayed
by those with AIDS.
a. Fever of unknown origin. The fever may be low grade and persistent, or it
may be episodic and spiking.
b. Weight loss. The patient may lose as much as 20 to 30 percent of his body
weight.
c. Malaise.
d. Diarrhea.
e. Opportunistic infections; for example, Candida, Pneumocystis pneumonia,
toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus.
f. Kaposi's sarcoma. This is a type of cancer, a vascular tumor with brown and
purple plaques or nodules. When associated with AIDS, this disease progresses rapidly
and may be found in the oral cavity, hard palate, gastrointestinal tract, lymph nodes,
and lungs.
3-8.
TREATMENT
Currently, there is no cure for the HIV infection and, therefore, no cure for AIDS.
Research continues to find methods to stop the growth of the human immunodeficiency
virus and to restore the patient's immune system. In the meantime, patients are treated
to alleviate signs and symptoms from which they are suffering. Specifically, supportive
measures are taken to reduce the risk of the patient developing an infection, to treat any
existing infections and malignancies, to maintain adequate nutrition for the patient, and
to give the patient emotional support. The drug Zidovudine (formerly called
azidothymidine or AZT) was the first drug which slowed down the progression of AIDS.
This drug, however, is very toxic. (Patients using the drug in a controlled study required
regular blood transfusions to maintain their hemoglobin.) Research must continue to
discover an effective treatment for AIDS.
MD0580
3-6



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