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Cinincal Challenges of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Infection

NCJ Number
Law, Medicine, and Health Care Volume: 14 Issue: 5-6 Dated: (December 1986) Pages: 281-289
K H Mayer
Date Published
9 pages
This paper identifies and discusses some of the major dilemmas clinicians face in confronting acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) by describing the clinical spectrum of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections, patterns of patient management, and therapeutics, with particular reference to emerging standards of care.
Clinical manifestations of AIDS are initial exposure to HIV via blood, semen, or vaginal fluids; asymptomatic infection; AIDS-related complex, opportunistic infections; opportunistic neoplasms; and HIV neurologic disease. AIDS tends to have different clinical features in children than in adults. The individual variability of symptoms after infection with HIV makes clinical predictions difficult. AZT has been effective in preventing early death in AIDS patients, but it often cannot be used in conjunction with some drugs used to treat infections derived from AIDS. The use of HIV anti-body testing can be useful in identifying HIV infection early so appropriate drug therapy can be used. It may also encourage infected persons to guard against transmitting the disease to others. Other issues are the high costs of diagnosing and treating AIDS versus the need for thorough and compassionate care and the health care provider's role in treating patients and helping the community at large to react appropriately to the threat of AIDS. 65 references.