HIV infection in children is divided into 4 stages:
- During stage 1 the child is generally well (asymptomatic).
- During stage 2 the child has skin rashes and minor infections.
- During stage 3 the child becomes ill with more serious infections.
- During stage 4 the child becomes infected with unusual organisms which are very uncommon in healthy children. Stage 4 is also know as AIDS.
Some previously-well infants can present with stage 4 disease without first progressing through the other stages.
This is the WHO classification. It has replaced the CDC classification which only used 3 stages and did not adequately address many common conditions in Africa such as pulmonary tuberculosis, malnutrition and chronic lung disease.