What is HIV?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. Human deficiency virus is the virus that causes HIV infection. HIV attacks and destroys the infection-fighting CD4 cells of the immune system. Loss of CD4 cells makes it difficult for the body to fight infections and certain cancers.
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
How is HIV Spread?
HIV is spread through the infected blood, vaginal fluid, semen or breast milk of a mother infected with HIV. In this way, HIV is spread from person to person. The most common ways HIV is transmitted are through anal or vaginal sex and sharing of drug injection equipment with a person infected with HIV.
HIV sometimes passes from an HIV-infected mother to her child during childbirth or pregnancy, or during breastfeeding. Transmission of HIV virus is also sometimes from mother-to-child. You can’t get HIV by shaking hands or hugging a person infected with HIV. And you can’t get HIV from contact with objects such as dishes, toilet seats, or doorknobs used by a person with HIV.
HIV Symptoms and Signs –
The first signs of HIV infection may be flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and rash. The “HIV symptoms” may come and go for a month or two after infection. After this earliest stage of HIV infection, more severe symptoms of HIV infection generally don’t appear for many years.
HIV transmission is possible at any stage of HIV infection—even if a person infected with the virus has no “HIV symptoms”
Signs and Symptoms during Different Stages of HIV Infection –
1.Acute Primary Infection
After two to four weeks person after getting infected with HIV starts getting symptoms like flu. This wouldn’t last long but only for two to three weeks. If you are not feeling well and are getting flu symptoms and you think you can be HIV you should consult a doctor.
Some other symptoms also include –
1. Pain in muscles.
2. Pains and joint aches.
3. Stomach problems.
4. A headache without any reason.
5. A sore throat.
6. High body fever.
7. Skin rashes.
When the seroconversion stage is over you may recover your health. Now you are feeling well but the clear symptoms of HIV may not show until 10 to 15 years depending on your health, age. But the virus is still active in your body it starts making a copy of infected cells in your body and with the passage of time it weakens your immune system.
3.Symptomatic HIV Infection
During this stage, if HIV infection infected cells may be caused large damage to your immune system. You will in more able to catch by fungal diseases, bacterial diseases, and some other serious infections as your immune system weaken with time your ability of the body to fight diseases reduces.
Some symptoms that you can configure during this stage are as follows –
1. Serious diseases.
3. Skin infections.
4. Mouth problems.
5. High fever.
6. Cough problems.
7. Weight loss.
Primary Prevention of HIV –
1. Get tested and treated for STD’S – Before getting in sexual contact with your partner you must ensure that your partner is not HIV positive. Insist him/her go for a medical checkup and if he/she is HIV positive take different preventions carefully.
2. Never inject drugs – Never take drugs, but if you do so so never share your syringes and equipment with others
3. Limit your sexual partners – If you are having sex with many partners then you may be in danger situation. As HIV situation is different for other peoples you may get infected from another person whom you don’t know. Try to avoid this type of situation every time and have one sex partner.
4. Use condoms – Using condoms is a great way to reduce the risks of HIV virus. But do not try to use 2-3 condoms at a time and this thing wouldn’t work as the layer of condoms rubbed against each other and can be damaged.
5. Have less risky sex – Whenever you have sex try to take measures and preventions. Try to use condoms during anal sex, vaginal sex as it will reduce the risks of HIV. Don’t try to do oral sex without precautions and full knowledge about it.
How long Does it take HIV to Advance to AIDS –
Without treatment, HIV can advance to AIDS. It usually takes for HIV to grow to AIDS can take 9-10 years or more. The following criteria are used to determine if a person with HIV has AIDS: A CD4 count of fewer than 200 cells/mm3.
A CD4 count measures the number of CD4 cells in a sample of blood. The CD4 count of a healthy person ranges from 500 to 1,200 cells/mm3.
AIDS conditions include opportunistic cancers and infections that are life-threatening to a person with HIV.
Key Points –
HIV virus causes HIV infection. AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection.
HIV is spread through contact with the blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk of a person infected with HIV.
The most common ways HIV is transmitted are through anal or vaginal sex and sharing of drug injection equipment with a person infected with HIV. The treatment for HIV infection is called antiretroviral therapy (ART).
ART involves taking a combination of HIV medicines (called an HIV regimen) every day. ART can help people infected with HIV live longer, and have healthier lives.
What is HIV Testing –
HIV testing shows if a person is infected with HIV or not. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS is the last stage of HIV virus infection. HIV testing detects HIV virus infection but it doesn’t tell how much time is left for a patient.
Why Is HIV Testing Important – HIV testing helps protect your health? Whether testing shows you are HIV-negative or HIV-positive, you can take steps to protect your health.
If you are HIV-negative: Testing shows that you don’t have HIV. Continue taking steps to avoid getting HIV, such as using a condom during sex.
If you are HIV-positive: Begin by talking to your healthcare provider about antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART is the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection. By taking ART patients can live longer. ART also reduces the risk of sexual transmission of HIV. Your health care provider will help you decide when to start treatment and what HIV medicines to take.
Who Should Get Tested for HIV –
CDC recommends HIV testing at least once a year for people at high risk of HIV infection.
Factors that increase the risk of HIV infection include: Having unprotected sex (sex without using a condom) with someone who is HIV-positive or whose HIV status is unknown.
Having sex with many partners Exchanging sex for money or drugs Having a sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as syphilis Using drugs with needles and sharing needles, syringes, or other drug equipment (“works”) with others Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk of HIV infection and a testing schedule that suits you.
Should Pregnant Women Get Tested for HIV –
CDC also recommends that all pregnant women get tested for HIV. Women who test HIV positive take HIV medicines during pregnancy and childbirth to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Babies born to HIV-infected women receive HIV medicines for 6 weeks after birth to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
HIV can be transmitted through mother’s breast milk, in the United States, baby formula is a healthy and very safe alternative to breast milk.
What are the Types of HIV Test –
The three main HIV tests are the HIV antibody test, the HIV RNA test, and the Western blot test.
HIV Antibody Test –
The HIV antibody test is the most common HIV test. During this test doctor’s look for HIV antibodies in blood samples, fluids, or urine samples. HIV antibodies are similar to protein the human body produces in response to HIV virus infection. When a person is infected with HIV virus, it literally takes nearly about 3-4 months for the body to produce antibodies to be detected by an HIV antibody test.
The time period between infection of HIV virus and the appearance of HIV antibodies in a human body is called window period. During the window period, the level of antibodies in the body is too low to be detected by an HIV antibody test. For this reason, the HIV antibody test isn’t used during the window period. It usually takes a few days to a few weeks to get results of an HIV antibody test. Some rapid HIV antibody tests can produce results within 30 minutes.
HIV RNA Test –
An HIV RNA test can detect
HIV in a person’s blood within 9 to 11 days after the person is infected with HIV—before the body has produced enough antibodies to be detected by an HIV antibody test. The HIV RNA test is used during the window period when recent infection is suspected—for example, soon after a person has had unprotected sex with a partner infected with HIV.
Immediately after infection, the amount of HIV in the body is very high, which increases the risk of HIV transmission. If a person is able to detect symptoms of HIV virus in his body in the very beginning there is a hope he can live more years by taking medicines.
Western Blot Test
HIV is diagnosed on the basis of positive results from two HIV tests. The first test is an HIV antibody test (using urine, blood samples or saliva fluids from the mouth) or RNA HIV test (using blood sample). A positive result on a first HIV test must be confirmed by a second HIV test (always using blood).
The confirmatory test typically used is a different type of antibody test called a Western blot test. Results from a Western blot test are usually available within a few days to a few weeks. A positive Western blot test result confirms that a person is infected with HIV.
How to protect your partner if you are HIV positive or She/He is HIV negative
Take HIV medicines on a daily basis as prescribed by the doctor. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) helps people with HIV to live healthier and longer lives. Antiretroviral therapy can not cure the HIV virus infection, but it reduces the amount of HIV virus in the human body.
Less HIV virus in your body will reduce your risk of passing HIV virus to your partner during sex. You can also discuss with your partner about taking safety precautions.
Another precaution measure which is very helpful in preventing blood contamination is a medical screening test. If you are sexually active and had a unprotected sexual intercourse with a partner it is advisable to go for HIV medical screen test.
Blood contamination very often occurs through the sexual intercourse with the infected partner who doesn’t know about his medical condition, unaware of her/his condition.
Although the HIV/AIDS is more prevalent in the other parts of the world than in North America every person should be aware of this diseases. Since no one is completely protected from such an infection or diseases.
ON 1 December World AIDS Day is celebrated. We have to take advantage of this opportunity to have a discussion with the people such as teenagers especially if you are parents. Spread information about AIDS and HIV their consequences and especially the ways of protecting yourself and others from the infection.