HIV infection – asymptomatic
Definition of Asymptomatic HIV infection
Asymptomatic HIV infection is a phase of chronic infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) during which there are no symptoms of HIV infection.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Asymptomatic is a period of time, which varies in length from person to person, in which the immune system slowly deteriorates but there are no symptoms.
Asymptomatic HIV infection, by definition, does NOT have symptoms typically associated with HIV, such as:
Signs and tests
The diagnosis of HIV infection is based on standard blood tests such as the . A confirms the diagnosis.
When a person without symptoms should receive therapy remains controversial. People who are asymptomatic but who have CD4 lymphocyte counts of less than 200 should take treatment to suppress the HIV infection (called antiretroviral therapy). This therapy boosts the immune system and helps prevent opportunistic infections.
There is currently no cure for HIV infection or AIDS. However, antiretroviral therapy and HAART can dramatically improve the length and quality of life of people infected with HIV, and can delay the onset of .
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 12/1/2009