Researchers have found that the AIDS virus causes major damage to the human immune system during the years it cannot be detected in the blood stream, meaning AIDS has no real "latent" or inactive stage.
The finding complicates efforts to treat or prevent the fatal disease and explains why people infected with HIV often appear healthy for 10 years or more. It means treating HIV infection effectively may require drugs that can be used long before full AIDS develops."The task is more formidable than we thought," said Dr. Ashley Haase of the University of Minnesota, where his team made the finding.
Haase and Fauci discovered the virus rapidly spreads throughout a person's body within a few weeks of infection, a point when people report flu-like symptoms. But the immune system clears the virus from the blood stream, and patients appear healthy, usually for about 10 years.