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As the infection progresses, it interferes more with the immune system, increasing the risk of common infections like tuberculosis, as well as other opportunistic infections, and tumors that rarely affect people who have working immune systems.
Due to their nonspecific character, these symptoms are not often recognized as signs of HIV infection.
Even cases that do get seen by a family doctor or a hospital are often misdiagnosed as one of the many common infectious diseases with overlapping symptoms.Thus, it is recommended that HIV be considered in people presenting an unexplained fever who may have risk factors for the infection.Between 50 and 70% of people also develop persistent generalized lymphadenopathy, characterized by unexplained, non-painful enlargement of more than one group of lymph nodes (other than in the groin) for over three to six months.Another group consists of those who maintain a low or undetectable viral load without anti-retroviral treatment, known as "elite controllers" or "elite suppressors".They represent approximately 1 in 300 infected persons.HIV is transmitted by three main routes: sexual contact, significant exposure to infected body fluids or tissues, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding (known as vertical transmission).