HIV AIDS or human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a group of conditions that are caused by an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus. Initially, the affected person may not notice any symptoms, but as the disease progresses he or she may experience flu like symptoms. There are three types of HIV/AIDS – acute, clinical latency and AIDS
• Influenza like illness
• Tender or enlarged lymph nodes
• GI symptoms like nausea or vomiting
• Weight loss
• Muscle pains
• Development of viral-induced cancers
HOW IS HIV AIDS DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis of HIV AIDS can be done through various lab tests. General physicians conduct a physical examination and evaluate symptoms. If they suspect HIV/AIDS they order for HIV testing for confirmation of diagnosis.
HOW IS HIV AIDS TREATED?
The treatment for HIV AIDS mainly consists of vaccinations using particular HIV vaccines that can fight and reduce the impact of the HIV virus. There is a lot of aftercare required to bring the patient back to normal and one should go by the recommendations of the doctor.
DID YOU KNOW?
Today, a person who is diagnosed with HIV, treated before the disease is far advanced and stays on treatment can live a nearly as long as someone who does not have HIV.
First clinically observed in United States of America in 1981, human immunodeficiency virus or HIV was initially thought to be only affecting the immune systems of gay men. Closely related to it and the last stage of the condition is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS.
The stigma of AIDS still exists around the world where those affected by it face severe ostracism, discrimination and rejection from society. Fear of violence and stigma is what prevents many from getting tested for HIV or going ahead with treatment. In several countries this stigma is closely related with homophobic attitudes. Despite this misconception, HIV actually spreads because of unprotected heterosexual sex, infected needles and blood, and during pregnancy from the infected mother to the unborn child.
Infected people don’t develop symptoms at the very outset, and there have been instances where people haven’t felt symptoms for almost ten years since the infection. Once you are infected with HIV, you have it for life since the body is unable to expel the reproducing virus. There is no official cure for it, but it can be controlled and monitored via anti-retroviral therapy or ART. It has seen a lot of success by extending the life expectancies of many. HIV progresses through three stages:
• Acute HIV infection: This stage sees the body responding naturally to the influx of the virus with flu like symptoms. It lasts for about two to four weeks and is highly infectious.
• Clinical latency or dormant stage: At this stage, the virus is less active on the reproduction front, as a result of which, patients do not experience any symptoms.
• AIDS: This is the last stage of HIV when due to no intervention via the ART therapy, the body’s immune system has completely broken down and is totally susceptible to severe infections. They lose a lot of weight, suffer from swollen glands, weakness, fatigue, chills, fever, etc. Those suffering from AIDS have low life expectancies.
It has been seen that those who are on the ART therapy are far less able to transmit the infection due to low levels of the virus in their bloodstream, than those whose condition lies undetected or untreated.
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