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The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was first recognized in the United States in the summer of 1981, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the unexplained occurrence of Pneumocystis jirovecii (formerly P. carinii) pneumonia in five previously healthy homosexual men in Los Angeles and of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) with or without P. jirovecii pneumonia and other opportunistic infections in 26 previously healthy homosexual men in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The disease was soon recognized in male and female injection drug users; in hemophiliacs and blood transfusion recipients; among female sexual partners of men with AIDS; and among infants born to mothers with AIDS. In 1983, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was isolated from a patient with lymphadenopathy, and by 1984 it was demonstrated clearly to be the causative agent of AIDS. In 1985, a sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed; this led to an appreciation of the scope and evolution of the HIV epidemic at first in the United States and other developed nations and ultimately among developing nations throughout the world (see “HIV Infection and AIDS Worldwide,” below). The staggering worldwide evolution of the HIV pandemic has been matched by an explosion of information in the areas of HIV virology, pathogenesis (both immunologic and virologic), treatment of HIV disease, treatment and prophylaxis of the opportunistic diseases associated with HIV infection, and prevention of HIV infection. The information flow related to HIV disease is enormous and continues to expand, and it has become almost impossible for the health care generalist to stay abreast of the literature. The purpose of this chapter is to present the most current information available on the scope of the pandemic; on its pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention; and on prospects for vaccine development. Above all, the aim is to provide a solid scientific basis and practical clinical guidelines for a state-of-the-art approach to the care of persons with HIV.


The current CDC classification system for HIV infection and AIDS categorizes patients based on clinical conditions associated with HIV infection together with the level of the CD4+ T lymphocyte count. A confirmed HIV case can be classified in one of five HIV infection stages (0, 1, 2, 3, or unknown). If there was a negative HIV test within 6 months of the first HIV infection diagnosis, the stage is 0 and remains 0 until 6 months after diagnosis. Advanced HIV disease (AIDS) is classified as stage 3 if one or more specific opportunistic illness has been diagnosed (Table 202-1). Otherwise, the stage is determined by CD4+ T lymphocyte test results and immunologic criteria (Table 202-2). If none of these criteria apply (e.g., because of missing information on CD4+ T lymphocyte test results), the stage is U (unknown).

TABLE 202-1CDC Stage 3 (AIDS)-Defining Opportunistic Illnesses in HIV Infection

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