A few days to a few weeks after infection with enough virus (= incubation time ), it comes to an explosive growth of HIV , especially in cells of the mucous membranes , but also in the blood .The risk of transmitting the virus itself is the high viral load ( number of HIV virus in the blood ), which reached its peak during this period, particularly large.
The number of T cells decreases precipitously. Due to this rapid deterioration of the defense situation , in many, though not all cases, a disease which other viral diseases, such as the glandular fever resembles. It may fever , body aches , swollen lymph nodes and other relatively non-specific symptoms. For this reason, a possible risk for HIV not be waived, even if a minor infection first appears obvious.
Following this acute infection of the body creates by an immune response, which HIV although suppressed but can not be removed, a reduction in virus numbers. antibodies against the virus can be formed. This stage, in which no symptoms can last for several years. During this period, the number of T cells decreased slowly, but steadily. She has the critical limit of 200 units per Mycroliter below, you experience the typical symptoms, which by too weak immune system caused. From this point on it is called AIDS . Nevertheless, the first signs of AIDS occur already at a higher cell count.
There are certain typical infections that in people with an intact immune system do not occur as a rule, but remarkably often occur in HIV and AIDS patients. The defense system is the absence of the major T cells no longer sufficient in a position to take targeted action against pathogens, which are eliminated in the healthy easily and quickly.
These include yeast infections in the mouth and throat, or specific cause of pneumonia . The pathogen is also type-specific and meaningful in terms of the progress of the disease, as well as the number of declining number of T-cells.
For this reason, a system has the classification of AIDS enforced, which takes into account both.The so-called lab category , which is the number of cells is divided into three stages.
Go beyond certain pathogens in the so-called clinical category one. Category A means that no HIV-specific symptoms are observed. Category C contains pathogens that AIDS define because they occur only in patients with a severely weakened immune system. These include many fungal and worm infestations . However, certain types of cancer are common. Category B on the other hand stands for diseases that could provide an early indication of the onset of AIDS, but not defining, that is, are proving. This includes for example the shingles . In order to assess the course and prognosis of HIV patients may therefore a combination of laboratory and clinical category is necessary.