The Central Intelligence Agency has secretly reported what American experts have been privately saying at medical conferences for the last year -- that all Americans infected with AIDS may die from it.

The emphasis is on the word "all" -- not just those now suffering the full effects of the disease but those who have tested positive as carriers of the AIDS virus and are walking around, apparently well.

Physicians have always made distinctions between those who test positive for the virus, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), and those who have "full-blown" AIDS, for which there is no cure. Sometimes they use the euphemisms -- "AIDS victims" for the fatal parties and "AIDS carriers" for those who show no signs of the disease. But now it appears that none will survive.

"Some experts suspect that all of those infected will eventually progress to some overt manifestation {of the disease}, possibly with a 100 percent mortality," the CIA noted in a recent internal report.

HIV is a relatively simple virus. It cripples the immune system by invading that system. The human body normally detroys invaders by producing antibodies or mobilizing "killer" cells like the "T-helper" white blood cells. The merciless HIV virus enters the T-helper cells and reprograms them so they produce more HIV virus when the cell is activitated to fight infection.

The Centers for Disease Control identify four stages of AIDS. In the first, those infected with the HIV virus may or may not experience an illness resembling flu or mononucleosis about three weeks after the AIDS virus enters the body. Other than that, the person looks well.

In stage two, the body starts producing antibodies to fight the virus. This occurs within two weeks to six months from the time of infection. And it is the first point at which the virus can be detected in a test.

"Regrettably, until {the carrier} develops a detectable antibody, there is no simple method of screening a large number of people for infection," the CIA notes. "The number of HIV particles circulating early in the illness is relatively small, apparently less than we find in the early stages of other viral illnesses such as hepatitis." Until the antibodies can be detected, a person infected with the AIDS virus will test negative.

Stage three is the incubation phase and may last for many years. The virus slowly spreads through the immune and nervous systems, but still there is no outward sign of AIDS in many cases, except enlarged lymph glands.

That, according to the CIA, leaves three groups of healthy-looking people carrying the AIDS virus for as long as five to seven years without showing symptoms.

It is when the outward symptoms appear that a person is officially diagnosed as "having AIDS" -- the fourth stage of the disease. But according to the CIA report of the latest medical thinking, everyone with the early stages will eventually develop full-blown AIDS, and everyone with full-blown AIDS dies.