AIDS defining illness

Appropriate Tests


Case definition: proven HIV infection and an AIDS defining illness, in the absence of another cause of immunosuppression. The CDC also includes proven HIV infection with a CD4 count of <0.2 x 109/L in their case definition.

See also HIV infection for more information and appropriate tests.

Presumptive or definitive diagnosis of:


Oesophageal Candidiasis

See also Candidiasis

CMV retinitis with loss of vision

See Cytomegalovirus infection.

Kaposi’s sarcoma

Biopsy of lesion for histology.

HHV8 IgG and or specific PCR testing on tissue and or blood (serum).

Disseminated Mycobacterial infection

Mycobacterial cultures of blood

Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia

See Pneumocystis infection.

Cerebral Toxoplasmosis

Biopsy of lesion for histology, PCR of tissue, culture of tissue for Toxoplasma gondii, serum antibody testing for toxoplasma IgG/IgM.

Recurrent Pneumonia

Defined as >1 episode of bacterial or unspecified pneumonia within a year.

Pulmonary Tuberculosis


Invasive cervical carcinoma

See Cervical lesion (biopsy).

Definitive diagnosis of:


Candidiasis of the trachea, bronchi or lungs

Culture and or biopsy of the affected tissue

Extra pulmonary cryptococcosis

See Cryptococcal infection.

Disseminated coccidioidomycosis

Serum antibodies may be helpful

Disseminated Histoplasmosis

Serum antibodies may be helpful

Cryptosporidiosis or isosporiasis, with diarrhoea persisting >1 month

See Cryptosporidial infection. Examination of a faecal sample with PCR or ZN stain for the organisms.

Cytomegalovirus infection

Affecting any organ other than liver, spleen or lymph nodes. 


Cytomegalovirus Ab, Cytomegalovirus detection. Biopsy of relevant tissue testing for CMV inclusions using light and special stains and or PCR.

Herpes simplex virus infection

Causing a mucocutaneous ulcer that persists for >1 month or bronchitis, pneumonitis or oesophagitis. Swab for HSV culture or HSV specific PCR.

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy

See under Encephalitis.

HIV encephalopathy


HIV wasting syndrome




Salmonella septicaemia

Blood  culture for salmonella species with or without  positive culture of a stool sample for salmonella.

Primary cerebral Lymphoma (non-Hodgkin)

See Lymphoma (non-Hodgkin) and Lymphoma (classification). 

Biopsy for histology, CSF for cytological examination and cell count.

Other non-Hodgkin lymphoma of B cell or unknown immunological phenotype

Includes the following histologic types: (i) small, non-cleaved cell lymphoma or (ii) high grade lymphoma especially diffuse large cell lymphoma and immunoblastic lymphoma.

See Lymphoma (non-Hodgkin) and Lymphoma (classification)

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