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When HIV emerges from latency – the period when someone with HIV shows no sign of it – symptoms can include: Factors which may lead one person to develop AIDS quicker than another include an immune system that is genetically more vulnerable and the use of drugs such as methamphetamine.
Antiretroviral medication can delay the progression of the disease dramatically.
The earliest people with AIDS and the health officials advising the public didn’t know what the disease was or how it was transmitted.
This uncertainty, and the speed with which the disease spread, led to an “epidemic of fear” and to discrimination against those with HIV and against groups perceived, correctly or not, to be more at risk.
In 1986, AZT, a failed cancer drug, was tested as an HIV treatment for the first time.
The trial was so successful that researchers stopped the study, not wanting to withhold medication from the placebo group.
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A person has AIDS only in the final stages of HIV, after the immune system becomes unable to defend itself against foreign invaders like bacteria, other viruses, and fungi, and allows for the development of certain cancers.
HIV infection has spread so far so fast in part because it can lack symptoms for many years.
As HIV progresses, the immune system becomes less able to defend the body against common bacteria and viruses.
These infections are called “opportunistic” because they take advantage of the weakened immune system.
People with HIV are more likely to develop certain illnesses – pneumonia, fungal infections and some cancers, for example – than others.