NCLEX Review: AIDS Infections and Malignancies

Nurses need to be knowledgeable of HIV and AIDS infections. This NCLEX review video will explain how HIV affects the immune system, the 3 stages of HIV, and symptoms, including opportunistic infections caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites. We’ll talk about HIV-related cancer, treatment options, and patient education.


NCLEX AIDS Infections & Malignancies Infographic

What you need to know about AIDS

Important Terms & Details You Need to Know About AIDS Infections & Malignancies

HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus – acquired infection that causes severe immune dysfunction

AIDS: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome – condition that develops when the immune system has been severely damaged by HIV


3 Stages of HIV:

  1. Primary (acute) phase
  2. Chornic asymptomatic disease
  3. AIDS


Opportunistic infections: pathogens that take the opportunity to produce disease when the immune system is weak, caused by:

  1. Viruses:
    1. Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
    2. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 and type 2
  2. Fungus
    1. Histoplasmosis
    2. Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP)
    3. Cryptococcosis
    4. Candidiasis
  3. Bacteria
    1. Salmonella
    2. Mycobacterium tuberculosis
    3. Recurrent bacterial pneumonia
    4. Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC)
  4. Protozoa
    1. Cryptosporidium
    2. Toxoplasma gondii


  • Main Signs and Symptoms:
  1. Pulmonary infection
  2. Chills & fever
  3. Malaise
  4. Fatigue & lethargy
  5. Night sweats
  6. Cough
  7. Dyspnea
  8. Confusion
  9. Headache
  10. Enlarged lymph nodes
  11. Stiff neck
  12. Progressing edema
  13. Seizures
  14. Skin rash
  15. Oral lesions


AIDS-defining malignancies:

  1. Kaposi sarcoma
  2. Non-hodgkin’s lymphoma
  3. Cervical cancer


Treatment for AIDS: HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy) – combination of at least 3 drugs that suppress HIV replication in the body

NCLEX Questions


by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: January 12, 2021