Asymptomatic HIV infection

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Definition

Asymptomatic HIV infection is a phase of HIV/AIDS during which there are no symptoms of HIV infection.

During this phase, the immune system in someone with HIV slowly deteriorates, but the person has no symptoms. How long this phase lasts depends on how quickly the HIV virus copies itself, and how the person's genes affect the way the body handles the virus.

Some people can go 10 years or longer without symptoms. Others may have symptoms and worsening immune function within a few years after the original infection.

References

Reitz MS, Gallo RC. Human immunodeficiency viruses. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 171.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 5/1/2015
  • Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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