Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV refers to a disease in which the cells belonging to the immune system are damaged or killed. The most advanced stage of the HIV infection is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. There are a number of factors that cause this disease to spread easily, such as sharing needles with an affected person, having unprotected sex with a person affected by HIV, or it can simply be passed on to babies from infected mothers. Certain lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet is important.
HOW IS HIV AIDS DIAGNOSED?
FACT: The symptoms include swollen glands, fever and ulcers in the mouth.
One of the few diseases that causes social stigma, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a variety of conditions caused due to infection. The virus begins to attack the body’s immune system, specifically the cells that help the body to stave off infections, i.e. T cells. The virus slowly begins to destroy these cells and if left untreated, the body becomes seriously vulnerable to infections or cancer. Slowly they begin to take over the weak immune system, leading to the last stage of HIV infection, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
The first thing to do is to get yourself tested for HIV. It is important to note that most HIV tests detect the specific anti-bodies that have formed against HIV in your body and not the virus itself. Since your body takes a while to form these anti-bodies, testing for HIV may not be worthy in the first few weeks, as it will not show up. It has been seen that 1 out of 6 people with HIV don’t know they do. Therefore, getting tested is the most important in this scenario.
In the first stage of acquiring the condition, most symptoms go unnoticed except maybe a flu-like illness. This includes night sweats, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, mouth ulcers, and rashes. This stage may occur about two to four weeks after being infected. Following this, there is the clinical latency stage or the chronic HIV infection stage. In this stage, patients have very mild to no symptoms. There have been cases where the patient hasn’t felt any symptoms for a decade or so.
Treatment for HIV or AIDS is through anti-retroviral or ART medication that suppresses or reduces the potency of the HIV virus. This however is not a cure, but only slows down its progression to AIDS or to ease the symptoms of AIDS.
There has to be greater awareness of reproductive health, family planning, ways to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Government health ministries, healthcare organizations, NGO’s, local health facilities must join hands to facilitate this and make it possible. They have a great role in slowly removing the immense social stigma that surrounds HIV and AIDS.
Lybrate helps you to connect and find the right professionals who deal with HIV/AIDS cases in Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai. It helps you locate healthcare centres that provide assistance and support to those infected with HIV. Subscribe to Lybrate and receive constant updates and news information related to your condition.