Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is the most advanced stage of HIV. The average amount of time from when a person tests HIV positive to the time that full blown AIDS occurs is between 9 and 11 years. In that time period there may be few or no symptoms which greatly facilitates the spread of the disease. Symptoms that do occur in later stages of AIDS may include swollen lymph nodes, unexplained weight loss, bumps or a rash on the skin, chronic fatigue, fever, night sweats, diarrhea, cough and shortness of breath.

AIDS patients experience immune system failure as their T-helper cells are continually depleted. This causes AIDS patients to develop opportunistic infections in their weakened states. Patients eventually succumb to these infections that a healthy individual would otherwise be able to fight off. This then means that people do not actually die of 'AIDS' they instead die of whatever infection takes over their body which their compromised system is unable to fight off.

How is HIV transmitted?


Source: Biology of Women, Ethel Sloane