AIDS is the end stage of what is more properly called HIV disease. Six days to 6 weeks after contracting the virus, some individuals develop a fever, head and muscle aches, enlarged lymph nodes, and a rash. These symptoms are often mild, attributed to the flu, and go away by themselves. Many individuals have no symptoms at all. The typical case of HIV disease then smolders unnoticed for almost 10 years before immunodeficiency develops, as evidenced by certain malignancies and unusual microbial infections that often attack the lungs, intestines, skin, eyes, or the central nervous system.
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