AIDS Home > What You Need to Know About Symptoms of AIDS
People with AIDS are also particularly prone to developing various cancers, especially those caused by viruses, such as Kaposi's sarcoma and cervical cancer, or cancers of the immune system, known as lymphomas. These cancers are usually more aggressive and difficult to treat in people with AIDS. Signs of Kaposi's sarcoma in light-skinned people are round, brown, reddish, or purple spots that develop in the skin or in the mouth. In dark-skinned people, the spots are more pigmented.
During the course of HIV infection, most people experience a gradual decline in the number of CD4+ T cells, although some may have abrupt and dramatic drops in their CD4+ T cell counts. A person with CD4+ T cells above 200 may experience some of the early symptoms of HIV disease. Others may have no symptoms even though their CD4+ T cell count is below 200.
Many people are so debilitated by their symptoms of AIDS that they cannot hold a steady job or do household chores. Other people with AIDS may experience phases of intense, life-threatening illness followed by phases in which they function normally.
A small number of people first infected with HIV ten or more years ago have not developed AIDS symptoms. More research is needed to determine why.