NCLEX RN Practice Question # 404

acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

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  • AIDS is a disorder caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and characterized by generalized dysfunction of the immune system
  • HIV infects CD4þ T cells; a gradual decrease in CD4þ T cell count occurs and this results in a progressive immunodeficiency; the risk for opportunistic infections is present.
  • HIV is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk; the incubation period is months to years.
  • Horizontal transmission occurs through intimate sexual contact or parenteral exposure to blood or body fluids that contain the virus.
  • Vertical (perinatal) transmission occurs from an HIV-infected pregnant woman to her fetus
  • The most common opportunistic infection that occurs in children infected with HIV is Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (formerly known as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia); P. jiroveci pneumonia most frequently occurs between the ages of 3 and 6 months, when HIV status may be indeterminate.


  • Candidal esophagitis
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Cytomegalovirus disease
  • Herpes simplex disease
  • Human immunodeficiency virus encephalopathy
  • Lymphoid interstitial pneumonitis
  • Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare infection
  • Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia
  • Pulmonary candidiasis
  • Recurrent bacterial infections
  • Wasting syndrome


 Diagnostic tests:

  • Before testing, counseling should be provided to parents; issues that should be addressed include the causes of HIV, reasons for testing, implications of positive test results, confidentiality issues, and beneficial effects of early intervention.

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