Journal Mobile

AJ France
Journal Issue: 
Volume 36: Issue 3: 2006




The global spread of HIV infection over the past 25 years presents new challenges to physicians.  HIV produces multi-system disease and can present to primary care physicians or to any hospital specialist department.  In the twenty-first  century,  HIV  has  joined  syphilis  in  the  differential  diagnoses  for  many illnesses. This article is aimed at the general physician and describes the common features  of  HIV  infection.   The  key  points  to  note  are: epidemiology; clinical features of opportunistic infections, tumours, and neurological disease; when to test for HIV; benefits of treatment; and complications of treatment. Throughout this article I have avoided the expression ‘AIDS’ because it means different things to  different  people.   The  North  American  definition  is  based  on  laboratory evidence of immunodeficiency but the European definition is based on historical clinical  features  which  are  often  independent  of immunodeficiency.  I  prefer  to speak of HIV and its spectrum of clinical disease.