Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Chicana and Chicano StudiesLatino Health Issues

How do I know I have AIDS or HIV?

Where did AIDS come from?
What does AIDS or HIV do to me?
How do they test and treat for HIV/ AIDS?
Questions and Contact Information

Some people develop flu like symptoms shortly after infection, but many have no symptoms. It may be a few months or any years before serious symptoms develop in adults; symptoms usually develop within the first two years of life in infants infected in the womb or at birth. Before serious symptoms occur, an infected person many experience fever, weight loss, diarrhea, fatigue, skin rashes, shingles also refereed to as herpes zoster, thrush, or memory problems. Infants may fail to develop normally.

tiny baby

The definition of AIDS has been refined as more knowledge has become available. In general it refers to that period in the infection when the CD4 count goes below 200 (from a normal count of 1,000) or when the characteristic opportunistic infections and cancers appear. the conditions associated with AIDS include malignancies such as KAposi's sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, primary lymphoma of the brain, and invasive carcinoma of the cervix. Opportunistic infections characteristic of or more virulent in AIDS includes Pneumocystic carinii pneumonia, herpes simplex, cytomegalovirus, and diarrheal diseases caused by crptosporidium or isospora. In addition, hepatitis C is prevalent in intravenous drug users and hemophiliacs with AIDS, and an estimated 4 to 5 million people who have tuberculosis are confected with HIV, each disease hastening the progression of the other. Children may experience more serious forms of common childhood ailments such as tonsillitis and conjunctivitis. These infections conspire to cause a wide range of symptoms (coughing, diarrhea, fever and night sweats, and headaches) and may lead to extreme weight loss, blindness, hallucinations, and dementia before death occurs.


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This site was created by April Bergman in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2005.