You cannot rely on symptoms to establish you have AIDS. The symptoms associated with AIDS are similar to the symptoms of many other diseases. AIDS is a diagnosis made by a doctor based on specific criteria established by the CDC.
The two ways that doctors decide when a person infected with HIV is considered to have advanced to AIDS are:
From other infections: When a person’s immune system is so weakened by HIV that one or more opportunistic infections take hold. These illnesses do not generally affect a person with a healthy immune system.
From certain blood tests (CD4 counts): When the number of healthy immune system cells in an HIV-positive person’s body drops to a certain low point or when the amount of HIV in his/her blood reaches a certain high point (called the “viral load”).
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