Stages of HIV infection

The stages of HIV begin with infection at some point in life and then develop into the evolution of the disease with its many varieties of presentation. Not all patients deal with it the same way.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) are a spectrum of diseases that, although associated, are different. Second Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), HIV and AIDS are dissimilar concepts.

The first term addresses the set of infectious responses caused by the virus, while the second refers to the final and most severe stage of the disease. Due to its global epidemiological importance and ease of contagion, it is essential to know its manifestations.

How is HIV distributed?

Second different studies, the level of knowledge about the stages of HIV is lacking in many social strata. Therefore, it is helpful to consider some data that puts the global situation into perspective.

Here we share the information that supports the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • This virus has claimed the lives of around 33 million people worldwide. However, due to the effectiveness of diagnosis and increasingly advanced treatments, this disease has become a chronic disease with which the patient can live long and healthy.
  • An estimated 38 million people were infected with HIV at the end of 2019.
  • 68% of these adults are on lifelong antiretroviral treatment (ART).
  • More than half of the patients are between the ages of 15 and 49.

As we can see, we are facing a widespread viral disease. Its distribution based on age responds to an undeniable reality: most cases are transmitted by the exchange of certain fluids (semen and vaginal discharge, among others) during sexual contact. HIV can also be passed from mother to child through contact with breast milk and blood fluid.

HIV virus
Viruses such as HIV infect cells of the immune system, weakening them and affecting their protective function.

Stages of HIV infection

This dreaded virus attacks the immune system, as it destroys cells such as lymphocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells. This results in a general immunodeficiency in the patient, making him more vulnerable to infections and tumors.

According to the government agency AIDSinfo, there are three main stages of HIV infection. We explain them below.

1. Stage of acute HIV infection

It is characterized by its rapid onset, as it begins to appear two to four weeks after infection. During this stage of HIV, some people experience flu-like symptoms. Scientific studies They cite the following signs:

  • Fever in 80% of cases.
  • Arthralgia (joint pain) in 54% of cases.
  • Anorexia in 54% of cases.
  • Other symptoms such as oral ulcers, pharyngitis and weight loss.

In this stage, the HIV virus reproduces rapidly and spreads throughout the body, destroying white blood cells. In these early infectious stages, the blood concentration is very high, which favors its transmission.

2. Stage of chronic HIV infection

In this stage, HIV continues to replicate within the patient’s body and deteriorates the immune system, but occurs in very low concentrations. This makes this period, in most cases, asymptomatic.

Without treatment, in about 10 years this phase will give rise to the clinical picture of AIDS. However, with antiretroviral drugs (ARTs), this process can be delayed by several decades, during which time the patient is not a transmitter. Several studies confirm the effectiveness of the ART approach schemes.


Due to the continuous exposure and destruction of the immune system by the HIV virus, human barriers are no longer able to deal with external infections at this point. A person is considered to have AIDS when they have it a CD4 lymphocyte count of less than 200 per cubic millimeter of blood.

This is the time when several opportunistic infections appear, included in the definition of AIDS by the World Health Organization in 1987. Some of them are as follows:

  • Septicemia (ingress of bacteria into the blood) from Salmonella.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Aspergillosis: disease caused by fungi that settle in the respiratory tract.
  • Bronchitis and pneumonia.
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma: a malignant lymphatic tumor.
  • Invasive carcinomas.

These are some examples of highly unlikely infections or tumor processes in a non-immunocompromised person. Due to the patient’s weakness and vulnerability to fungi, protozoa, viruses and bacteria, without treatment there is no Life expectation older than three years.

HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus
HIV goes through stages that culminate in AIDS. This last phase is critical and its consequences can be deadly.

HIV and AIDS: what to remember?

As we have seen, the human immunodeficiency virus attacks in different stages and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the latest. The immune system weakens and becomes susceptible to external and internal agents which, under normal conditions, do not represent a danger.

Anyway, This disease, once considered certain death, now has effective clinical approaches that allow the patient to lead a normal life. If antiretrovirals are applied in time, an HIV positive person will have a very good prognosis.

The post Stages of HIV Infection first appeared in research-school.



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