What is HIV and AIDS?

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1st December-AIDS Day

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic and life-threatening condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). AIDS damages our immune system by crippling our body’s ability to fight infection and disease.

One can get HIV through sexually transmitted infection (STI), which can spread to the other person through infected blood, illicit injection drug use, and sharing needles. Additionally, there is a high possibility that it can apply to the infant via breastfeeding, and it can spread to the baby in the womb from the mother.

It is essential to get the proper treatment and medications to weaken the HIV system and to prevent it from cutting the immune system to such a level that it leads us to AIDS. A critical point to note this that there is no specific cure or treatment offered/for AIDS. However, medications can control the infection and prevent it from increasing. The medicines also lower the chances of spreading the virus to other people as medications help lower the viral load in the blood, which further reduces the spread of HIV through sex.

What are the symptoms of HIV and AIDS?

The symptom of HIV appears in three phases, ranging from mild symptoms such as fever, headache, and rashes t a damaged immune system. HIV symptoms start appearing within 2-4 weeks after the virus has entered the human body.

Below are the common symptoms of HIV-AIDS based on the stage of the virus.

Stage One

  • The HIV viral load is high and is quite contagious
  • Symptoms are flu-like, such as fever, headache, rashes, cough, night sweats, and so on

It is good to get yourself tested at this stage, as the symptoms are almost mild. However, the viral load is high. The infection spreads rapidly from the primary to the next stage. Getting the right medicines and treatment will slow doe the progression to the next step.

Stage Two

At this stage, the HUV infection is asymptomatic. However, it continues to grow inside the body. It may happen that people may not feel sick or may not see any mild symptoms coming out; however, they can still transmit HIV without proper medications.

Stage Three

This is the most severe stage of HIV infection, as the viral load of the disease is exceptionally high, and transmission is very rapid. The immunity system of the HIV-infected person gets damaged quite severely, and there are other infections that one may undergo and suffer from. Without getting the proper treatment at this stage, there are higher chances that people may die within three years as the survival rate is low. However, it may happen that people may not have any symptoms or any feeling of infection even at this stage.

An important thing to note is that as the virus grows, it can destroy the immune cells in our body and increase the tendency to catch other infections. These infections are so mild they don’t bother a healthy immune system, such as Oral yeast infection (thrush), Shingles (herpes zoster), Pneumonia, and many more. These are called opportunistic infections.

How can HIV spread?

HIV, as a virus, gets in your body through cuts, sores in the skin, semen, vaginal fluids, anal mucus, blood, and breast milk. The virus spreads into the body from various sources, as mentioned below:  

  • Having Vaginal or Anal Sex
  • Sharing needles or syringes for drugs, piercings, and tattoos
  • Re-using the needle that has HIV-infected blood on it
  • Getting exposed to HIV-infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids

It is a common fact to understand that having unprotected sex increases the chances of getting HIV-AIDS. This happens through STDs; therefore, it is essential to use condoms and dental dams every single time of having sex. Not using the already-used needle for any purpose is also necessary. All these methods effectively protect you and your partner from HIV.

Pregnant females and breastfeeding mothers are more likely to pass on the HIV-AID to the fetus and the baby. Therefore, pregnant women must take HIV-prescribed medicines to reduce the chances of the baby getting HIV.

One common misconception about HIV is that it can be spread through saliva; however, this is the false assumption that saliva or spit can cause HIV; hence, this makes kissing, sharing food, and drinks a safe game. An additional point to note is that HIV cannot be spread through hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, and using the same toilet.

Disclaimer: This blog has been written after performing in-depth secondary research related to the topic from various articles, blogs, and journals that have expertise in writing for healthcare; suppose you see any issues related to your body or have any doubt related to HIV/AIDS, we strictly advise you to seek medical consultation. 

1 COMMENT

  1. Cool. I spent a long time looking for relevant content and found that your article gave me new ideas, which is very helpful for my research. I think my thesis can be completed more smoothly. Thank you.

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