All About HIV and AIDS: On Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

HIV and AIDS

HIV is now one of the world’s most serious public health challenges wherein there were approximately 36.9 million people worldwide that are living with HIV/AIDS in 2017, and the cases weren’t declining any time soon. Instead, it is still on the rise, making it a worldwide threat that even affects children.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a potentially life-threatening chronic condition which is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This condition damages your immune system, making HIV interfere with your body’s ability to fight the organisms that cause disease. As of now, there’s no cure for this deadly disease and what one can do is to fight it back through knowledge.

The Difference Between HIV and AIDS

Human immunodeficiency virus is the virus which is passed from person to person, which destroys an important kind of cell in your immune system that helps protect your body from infections. This then causes AIDS (Acquired Deficiency Syndrome) which is a disease caused by the damaged in the immune system due to HIV that leads to death over time.

If left without supervision from medical practitioners and treatment, it usually takes about 10 years for someone to develop AIDS when someone has HIV. It is because treatment slows down the damage the HIV virus causes that can make people stay healthy for several decades.

Symptoms of HIV

Early infection interprets as HIV infection in the past 6 months and includes acute infections. Within 2-4 weeks after HIV infection, there’s about 40-90 percent of people having flu-like symptoms. However, there are other people that do not feel sick at all during this stage, this is called as acute HIV infection.

As for the flu-like symptoms, here are the lists of what you’ll be feeling within the first weeks after HIV infection:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Rash
  • Night Sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • A sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Mouth ulcers

These indicated symptoms can last from a few days to several weeks. However, there are HIV infected individuals that may not show up an infection on some types of HIV tests and this is considered as highly infectious which can be spread out to other people.

Go for an HIV test if you think you have the symptoms mentioned above. However, you should not always assume that you have this disease just because you have any of these symptoms. Be reminded that there are some people that do not show any symptoms at all for 10 years or more.

Causes of HIV and Aids

HIV destroys CD4 T cells which are part of the immune system’s force that plays a large role in helping your body fight disease. However, due to HIV infection, it will result in fewer CD4 T cells that make your immune system weak.

How HIV spreads

Infected blood, semen or vaginal secretions must enter an individual’s body to become infected with HIV, which can happen in several ways such as by having sex, blood transfusions, sharing contaminated intravenous drug paraphernalia, and mother to baby in which the infected mother can pass the virus to their babies.

You need to know that HIV can’t be passed through ordinary contact. This means that you can’t catch HIV or AIDS by kissing, hugging, shaking hands, spitting, or sharing cutleries and bath.

Treatment

There is no cure for HIV infection or AIDS as of now. However, treatments can stop the progression of the infection and allow most people to still have the opportunity to live long and a relatively healthy life while living with HIV.

Emergency HIV Pills (Post-exposure Prophylaxis)

This anti-HIV medication treatment can stop the infection of an individual that has been exposed to the virus within the last 3 days (72 hours). So, this should be taken as soon as possible after contact with the virus. This treatment will last for 4 weeks and the individual will still be monitored after the completion of the treatment.

Antiretroviral Drugs

HIV is treated with antiretrovirals (ARVs) that fights the HIV infection and slows down the virus spreading in the body. Generally speaking, people that have been infected with HIV will take a combination of medications called as cART (combination retroviral therapy) or HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy).

Takeaway

Some people find it hard to ask for help when infected by HIV which is mainly due to some misconceptions about how it can be passed on. However, one should be encouraged on to seek medical help to be able to still live fully. Although treatments can be expensive, an individual suffering this disease shouldn’t be compromised in regards to one’s medications, thus HIV aids drug coupons are present to financially aid the patient.

Lastly, the best way in curing the HIV or AIDS is by not having it at all, in short, by prevention.