Stage three is also known as symptomatic HIV infection. Symptoms begin to show as the HIvirus becomes stronger and more pathogenic causing greater destruction of T helper cellswhich the body cannot replace. Zuckerman et al (2009) state the early aspects of this stageare symptoms such as skin and oral lesions, eczema, fungal infections, fatigue, weight lossand night sweats. These symptoms progress to opportunistic infections as the immunesystem becomes weaker caused by the low number of CD4 cells and the increasing viral loadleading to infections such as tuberculosis, herpes zoster, and oral candidiasis. The immunesystem is failing and multiple infections begin to occur at the same time, affecting all areasof the body.The final stage is known as the progression of HIV to AIDS. AIDS is the end stage of theinfection, it is completely irreversible and palliative care becomes the main focus for thepatient (Crowe et al, 1996)There are many diagnostic tests that are used in each stage of the HIV infection. The firstand most effective test is a detailed ca
se history; the symptoms, how long they’ve had
them, previous history e.g. tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections. Their sexualhistory, number of partners, partners health. Next a physical examination of the mouth andthroat, skin and lymph nodes and a blood test, where possible, should also be done (VanDyk 2008).
The use of measuring a person’s CD4 cell count is also a method of diagnosing
which stage they are at and how significant a stage of immunosuppression they have. Anormal CD4 cell count is anything from 500 to 1600, greater than 500 (per mm
) is notsignificant, 350-499 is mild, 200-349 is advanced and less than 200 is severe and classed asAIDS (African Region, 2005)