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For further information, see CMDT Part 31 HIV Infection & AIDS

Key Features

Essentials of Diagnosis

  • Modes of transmission

    • Sexual contact with a person with HIV

    • Parenteral exposure to the blood of a person with HIV by needle sharing, needlestick or, very rarely, transfusion

    • Perinatal exposure

  • In acute HIV infection,

    • Acute retroviral syndrome (not always present):

      • Fever

      • Rash

      • Pharyngitis

      • Swollen lymph nodes

      • Aseptic meningitis

    • Positive HIV viral load, with or without a positive HIV antigen/antibody test (as those tests may initially be negative)

  • In chronic HIV infection/AIDS,

    • Prominent systemic complaints: sweats, diarrhea, weight loss, and wasting

    • Opportunistic infections

      • Due to diminished cellular immunity

      • Often life-threatening

    • Aggressive cancers, particularly non-Hodgkin lymphoma

    • Neurologic manifestations

      • Dementia

      • Aseptic meningitis

      • Neuropathy

General Considerations

  • Definition: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention AIDS case definition (Table 31–1)

  • Etiology: HIV-1, a retrovirus

Table 31–1.CDC AIDS case definition for surveillance of adults and adolescents.

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