Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the last stage of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). AIDS weakens the immune system and increases a person's risk of developing serious illnesses such as certain cancers, opportunistic diseases, and neurological disorders.
HIV is spread through contaminated blood, specifically through sexual contact or shared needles. HIV, especially if it is not treated, can progress to AIDS. Symptoms of AIDS include fatigue, weight loss, diarrhea, fever, night sweats, thrush (infection in the mouth and throat), and swollen lymph nodes of the neck, armpits, and groin.
Current as of: June 7, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
Public Health Alerts
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
FIND Services and Resources
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Is it an emergency?
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.