HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV positive means being infected with the HIV virus. Being infected with the HIV virus does not mean the person has AIDS. HIV infection happens in three stages. Without treatment, it will get worse over time and eventually overwhelm your immune system. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).  Treatment with HIV medicines can prevent HIV from advancing to AIDS.

AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. AIDS modifies and corrupts the immune system, making people susceptible to infections and diseases. The susceptibility worsens as the syndrome progresses. HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding. Without medication, it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS. There were approximately 37.9 million people living with HIV at the end of 2018.

How goes one get HIV:

A person can get HIV from an infected person through direct contact with bodily fluids such as:

  • blood (including menstrual blood)
  • Having unprotected sex with an HIV infected partner
  • Contact with infected blood, especially through sharing infected injections or through blood transfusions.
  • Mother to baby during or before birth or while breastfeeding the baby, through breast milk.
  • semen /ejaculate
  • sharing drug needles with someone who is infected with HIV
  • vaginal secretions

Stages of HIV:

  1. Primary Stage (Stage1): Around one to four weeks after getting HIV some people will experience symptoms that can feel like flu. Your immune system, in response, tries to attack the virus by producing HIV antibodies – this process is called seroconversion
  2. Secondary Stage ( Stage 2): Once a person has been through the acute primary infection stage and seroconversion process, they can often start to feel better. In fact, HIV may not cause any other symptoms for up to 10 or even 15 years.
  3. Stage3: By the third stage of HIV infection a person’s immune system is severely damaged. At this point, they’re more likely to get serious infections.

Symptom of HIV:

The symptoms of HIV and AIDS vary

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • lack of energy
  • skin rash
  • muscle aches and joint pains
  • headache
  • Fatigue
  • sore throat
  • Aching muscle
  • weight loss (anorexia)
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Nausea
  • A red rash that doesn’t itch.
  • Vomiting
  • fever
  • oral ulcers
  • Painful mouth sores
  • genital or anal ulcers
  • Muscle ache and Joint pain
  • weight loss
  • night sweats
  • persistent cough
  • enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, armpits and groin
  • persistent diarrhea

Diagnosis & Treatment:

HIV is most commonly diagnosed by testing your blood or saliva for antibodies to the virus. Unfortunately, it takes time for your body to develop these antibodies — usually up to 12 weeks.

  • CD4 T cells are white blood cells that are specifically targeted and destroyed by HIV
  • This test measures the amount of virus in your blood.
  • Some strains of HIV are resistant to medications.

There’s no cure for HIV/AIDS, but a variety of drugs may be prescribed by your doctor to control the virus. However, effective antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) can control the virus and help prevent onward transmission to other people. The drugs are used in combination. Medications may be prescribed for these conditions. However, some medications such as those for cardiovascular, metabolic and bone conditions, may not interact well with anti-HIV medications Because of medical advancements, many people now live long, active lives with HIV.

Each class of drug blocks the virus in different ways. ART is now recommended for everyone, regardless of CD4 T cell counts. HIV treatment plans may involve taking several pills at specific times every day for the rest of your life. sometimes use along with antiretroviral therapy, including homeopathic medicine, massage, and supplements. Testing and diagnosis of HIV-exposed infants has been a challenge.

For infants and children less than 18 months of age, serological testing is not sufficient to identify HIV infection – virological testing must be provided (at 6 weeks of age or as early as birth) to detect the presence of the virus in infants born to mothers living with HIV.

Two main types of HIV vaccines are currently being tested — preventive and therapeutic.


Key approaches for HIV prevention, which are often used in combination

  • Use male and female Condoms. Evidence shows that male latex condoms have an 85% or greater protective effect against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
  • WHO is recommending assisted partner notification approaches so that people with HIV receive support to inform their partners either on their own or with the help of health care providers.
  • The WHO recommendation to initiate ART in all people living with HIV will contribute significantly to reducing HIV transmission.
  • People who inject drugs can take precautions against becoming infected with HIV by using sterile injecting equipment, including needles and syringes, for each injection and not sharing drug using equipment and drug solutions
  • Management of STIs, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis.

However, more efforts are needed to scale up treatment, particularly for children and adolescents.. Expanding access to treatment is at the heart of a set of targets for 2020 which aim to bring the world on track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

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