HIV / AIDs – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

 HIV/AIDS  is a deadly disease that can be prevented. Learn all you need to know about HIV, its symptoms, treatments and causes. HIV/AIDS is an infectious disease caused by the HumanImmunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The virus attacks the body’s immune system, leaving people vulnerable to infections and cancers. This guide will provide information about the causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention methods for HIV/AIDS.

 Product Features: – Learn aboutthe different types of HIV/AIDS.

 – Understand how HIV spreads.

 – Know what to do if you think you have been exposed to HIV.

 – Find out more about the treatment options available.

 – Discover ways to prevent getting infected.

HIV also known as human immunodeficiency virus is a virus that reduces the efficiency of the immune system. It destroys the immune cells and makes the body prone to various severe symptoms. The body gets so weak that it fails to fight even normal germs. The virus usually spreads by contact. If someone with HIV leaves some of his body fluid somewhere then getting in contact with it also spreads the infection. Besides, you should take care not to have unprotected sex. It is the major cause of developing HIV. Always use latex condoms and avoid having sex with multiple partners. This results in easy transmission of the virus. And if the virus remains undetected and untreated then it leads to the development of a very serious disease called AIDS.

AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection. At this stage, most of the immune cells of the body are already destroyed by HIV. This enhances the body to become very weak, get fatigued too fast, and lose extreme weight along with the experience of recurring fever and headaches. Still today, the actual method to treat HIV infection and AIDS is not found, but it can be prevented and its growth can be slowed down. The article to follow will look at various ways, how we can prevent HIV from spreading and how the symptoms can help to identify it even at an early stage.

Causes

HIV is the virus that destroys the immune cells of the body. This makes the body very much vulnerable to the severe effects of even mild illness. And at a later stage, if it remains undetected and untreated for years, then it results in AIDS. Now let us know actually how it spreads. Since AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease, so it’s quite evident that it will transfer through sexual contact. But this is not just limited to sexual contact, it includes any form of physical contact. The only thing is it doesn’t spread via air, water, or any other animal. Following are given the various ways, that HIV can spread among people.

During pregnancy or breastfeeding from the mother’s body to the baby

If the mother is detected to be HIV positive, then there are high chances of the transfer of the virus to the baby’s body. Usually, this happens when the mother is HIV-positive and remains undetected while she is pregnant. This increases the vulnerability of the growing child to receive those viruses. But if it is detected then with medications the effect on the child can be reduced. Besides, if an HIV-positive mother is breastfeeding then it will also transfer the virus to the child and enhance its risk of developing the disease.

Physical contact

If you are getting into contact with someone who is HIV positive then the chances of you receiving the infection increase manifolds. The type of contact varies from mild and gentle social contact to intimate contact. Even if you hug, kiss, dance with, or shake hands with an HIV-infected person then also your chances of developing the infection grow.

Unsafe sex 

Sex gives pleasure, but if not done in a protected way then it can increase your risk of developing HIV infection. Every time you go for intercourse, make sure to use a new and fresh condom. This helps to reduce the chances of developing the infection. Besides, try to enjoy only vaginal sex since, transmission through anal sex is more prominent. Apart from this, try to maintain as less sexual partners as possible. Because you never know who is infected and who is not. So, the less the better and safe.

Blood transfusion

Blood transfusion is an essential process used for saving various lives. But in case the donated blood is kept together in contact with blood from an HIV-positive person, then it transfers the infection. Usually in highly advanced and technological countries, the blood banks maintain a clean and safe environment. They test all the blood before transferring them to the blood bank. But it is rare in low-income countries. Hence, the risk of spreading HIV infection through blood transfusion is high there.

Sharing of needles

In case, by some means you are made to use an injection that is also used on someone else, then it increases your risk of developing the infection. This is because sharing injection allows the transfer of someone else’s blood within your body. This makes it easy for the virus, if present, to transmit easily in the body. So, you should avoid the use of used syringes or needles. All these above ways are the ways by which the HIV virus can spread. Try every time, everywhere you go to take care of your hygiene and use protection before getting into someone’s contact. This helps to protect you from receiving the virus.

Symptoms

Having known about the disease, now let us know the symptoms that can warn us about its presence. Since it is a chronic infection and develops in phases. So, the appearance of the symptoms also varies based on the phase. So before knowing about the symptoms let us know about the various phases of its growth.

Primary infection (Acute HIV)

This is the initial stage of the infection. Just after 2-4 weeks of the entry of the virus within your body, you will start feeling weak. Symptoms of flu and cold start to develop. This happens because the virus starts attacking your immune system and suppressing its resistive power. This illness usually lasts for a few weeks and then fades away. Though its difficult to recognize the symptoms at this initial stage this is the most dangerous stage. At this stage, the quantity of viruses present in your bloodstream is too much. This spreads too rapidly within the body and increases the threat of life risk multiple times.

Clinical latent infection (Chronic HIV)

This is the next stage. At this stage, the virus has already attacked the white blood cells of the body. But the thing is you won’t experience any such symptoms during this stage. The stage can last for years without showing symptoms. But after a certain period, it can turn out to be very dangerous, resulting in very severe diseases.

Symptomatic HIV infection

This is the third stage. At this stage, HIV starts to destroy the immune cells of your body. The body slowly losses its power to fight the germs and gives in. You start feeling very ill and develop severe symptoms of illness. At this stage, the number of viruses present in your body is quite high. This happens because they multiply very rapidly.

Progression to AIDS

Once the HIV virus has stayed in your body for an extended period like 8 years, then it leads to the development of a disease called AIDS. the moment you are diagnosed with AIDS your body and the immune system are already damaged. This will make you develop severe symptoms with mild illnesses. Knowing about the various stages of HIV infection is not enough. You should also know the difference between the symptoms when you have an only infection and when you have developed the disease. Some of the commonly seen symptoms during the infection and the developed disease, AIDs are mentioned below.

Symptoms during infection

The severity of the symptoms may vary with the stage of the infection, but the type of infection is the same. Some of the common symptoms are

●       Fever

●       Headache and body ache

●       Weight loss

●       Diarrhea

●       Sweating at night

●       Swollen lymph nodes

Symptoms when you have developed AIDS

●       Severe skin rashes

●       Unusual white spots on the tongue and in the mouth

●       Severe fatigue and weakness

●       Chronic diarrhea

●       Extreme weight loss

●       Recurring fevers

Treatment

HIV is a preventable kind of infection, but it can’t  be cured. Even today, when we have seen so much of technological advancement, the complete treatment to cure HIV infection is now found. Medicines and therapies are available that can help to prevent the spread of the infection but they can’t be stopped. With some medication methods, the progression of HIV can be slowed and hence, the development of AIDS can be delayed. Yet it is quite a problem to solve the issue. The common method that is used for a long time to treat HIV is by using a combination of oral pills. This combination is actually called ART which stands for antiretrivol therapy. This therapy actaully aims at reducing the viral load on your blood and hence weakens the virus. This then results in slowly destroying the viruses using the combination of medicines. Some of the ART medications used are mentioned below.

●       Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs).

●       Fusion inhibitors.

●       Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs).

●       CCR5 antagonists.

●       Protease inhibitors (PIs).

●       Integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs).

●       Attachment inhibitors.

●       Combination of HIV medicines

Prevention

Though there is no such effective treatment method yet available to treat and cure the disease totally, still there are ways you can use yourself to prevent it. Below are mentioned some of the proven methods or ways that can help to prevent the risk of developing HIV infection.

●       Remember to use condoms during sex. Latex condoms are more helpful.

●       Say no to sharing of used injection syringes and needles.

●       Try to make use of water-based lubricants.

●       Get yourself tested for any kind of STD and get treatment started, this helps to reduce the risk of developing HIV infection. Because, if you already have some STD then the risk of developing HIV rises.

●       In case you think you are exposed to HIV then immediately consult with your doctor. Ask your doctor if you need some immediate treatment. Usually, based on exposure type, your doctor may prescribe you some medicines. These are known as pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis.

Besides all the above-mentioned points, another point of importance is that you should avoid getting drunk. After being totally high, people fail to protect themselves from these infections. So, better avoid being highly drunk.

Don’t miss your medicines for any cause!

In case you are already HIV positive, then you should consult with the doctor soon. This will help to get your treatment with a combination of medicines started soon. Once you are on medicines, then try to avoid missing them. Missing your regular HIV treatment medicine can cause reverse action. The virus which was earlier getting destroyed due to the medicine will now develop a resistive nature  against it. Now if you start your medication after a certain period then it won’t work. And this is more dangerous. Because, you will keep taking medicines as prescribed after missing them, and think that it is working. But in reality, it has stopped working. And the HIV and the infection are growing rapidly within you. It is destroying your immune cells and making your body weak from the inside.

What should you do, if you have already missed some dozes?

So, next time if due for any reason you have to skip medicines or have missed them for some time. Then make sure to consult your doctor. Unless you consult with your doctor and he prescribes you test to find the viral load in your blood, you can’t be treated. After knowing the exact nature of the viruses within, the speed of their multiplication, and decrement in the effectiveness of the medicine they have caused, you can be given any medicine again.

Conclusion

HIV is a viral infection, we all know that but after having read this article above, we now know its seriousness. HIV infection is not any normal health problem. It needs special care and treatment. Though it can’t be treated completely yet it can be slowed down or it can be reduced. For that you need to follow the above mentioned prevention methods. They will help you to prevent your health risk and stop it from spreading. Besides, another important thing that we should all understand is that we should never panic. We should avoid the discrimination that usually happens with an HIV-positive person. This creates a more negative environment for the patient and makes him feel depressed. Acting mature is very important in such circumstances. Better to consult a doctor and know how can you handle the situation. But never do discrimination.

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