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Early disease progression - AIDS

As the disease progresses, the person develops other conditions related to AIDS. A simple boil or warts may spread all over the body. The mouth may become infected by thrush (thick white coating), or may develop some other problem. Dentists are often the first to be in a position to make the diagnosis. People may develop severe shingles (painful blisters in a band of red skin), or herpes. They may feel overwhelmingly tired all the time, have high temperatures, drenching night sweats, lose more than 10% of their body weight, and have diarrhoea lasting more than a month. No other cause is found and a blood test will usually be positive. Some used to call this stage ARC, or AIDS related complex.

You can easily panic reading a list of symptoms like this because all of us tend to read about diseases and think instantly we've got them. Chronic diarrhoea does not mean you have HIV infection or AIDS. Nor do symptoms such as weight loss, high temperatures, tiredness and swollen glands. These things can be particularly common in many developing countries.

At the moment in many countries there is an epidemic of viral illnesses which cause fevers, tiredness, rashes and other symptoms that last a long time, always go away completely, and have nothing to do with HIV infection or AIDS. See your doctor or go to a clinic for sexually-transmitted diseases (STD) or genito-urinary medicine (GUM) if you are unsure.