HIV is a virus which stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus which spreads through the body fluid and attack the ‘T cells’ which is responsible for maintaining the body’s immune system.
If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) which completely damages the body immune system and makes it harder to fight against any infection and any other disease. However, the human body can not get rid of HIV completely but if proper medical care treatment is followed, HIV can be controlled.
HIV infection has three stages:
- Acute HIV infection.
- Clinical Latency.
- AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome).
ACUTE HIV INFECTION
This is the first stage of HIV infection. During this stage, a person infected with HIV may feel the symptom of severe flu. This will include high fever, sore throat, swollen glands, joint and muscle pains, and rashes. This condition is also known as ‘acute retroviral syndrome (ARS)’. If a person seeks a medical help from this initial stage of HIV infection can keep the condition under control as a diagnosis at the correct stage plays an important role in treating a particular disease.
CLINICAL LATENCY STAGE
This is the second stage of HIV infection, wherein the virus inside the body develops and grow without showing any visual symptoms. During this stage, the virus grows at a slow pace and even the laboratory test cannot detect its presence. However, an infected person can transmit this virus to others.
This is a final stage of HIV infection. Here, the immune system of an infected person is badly damaged and his body is more open and vulnerable to the infections. The number of T cells drops majorly below 200 cells per cubic metre. In a healthy immune system, the count of T cells is between 500 – 1600 cells per cubic metre.
Without treatment, if a person who is infected with HIV reaches the stage of AIDS typically survives for 3 years and if that person is further infected with any other illness as the immune system is badly damaged, the life expectancy becomes 1 year.
How is HIV Transmitted?
HIV can mainly be transmitted in the following manner:
- Sexual Intercourse
Having sexual intercourse (anal or vaginal) with HIV infected person can lead to a greater risk of getting HIV infection.
Usage of same Needle or Syringe
Sharing needles or syringes can give a bigger threat of transmitting HIV infection from one person to another. Therefore, one syringe and needle has to be used only for one person and after the usage,- it has to be discarded. The HIV infection can get transmitted by the contact of contaminated sharp objects.
- From an infected pregnant mother to her child
If an expectant mother is tested positive for HIV, then she has transmitted HIV infection to her unborn child. HIV can also be transmitted via breastfeeding.
- If you eat food, which is already, pre-chewed by an infected HIV person.
- Being bitten by an HIV infected person.
- Contact with wound, broken skin or any blood transmission from HIV infected person.
Can I be infected through social touch, mosquito-bite, or sharing Public places?
No, HIV is not transmitted by a social kiss, shaking hands, sharing of public toilets and even by sharing dishes. The HIV is only transmitted when it is a transmission through blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal-fluid, vaginal fluid and breast fluid. However, HIV also is transmitted through needles and syringes when they are injected in HIV infected person’s body and reused for another person.
Symptoms of HIV
The symptoms of HIV infection is not reliable to confirm this disease. However, at an early stage of HIV infection, nearly 40% to 90% of HIV infected patients suffers from the following:
- Night Sweats
- Muscle aches
- A sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
In order to diagnose this infection accurately, it is advisable to get laboratory test done. If you overlook these symptoms and do not opt for medical treatment and care, it will lead to AIDS, wherein the symptoms can include:
- Rapid weight loss
- Recurring fever or profuse night sweats
- Extreme and unexplained tiredness
- Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
- Diarrhoea that lasts for more than a week
- Sores of the mouth, anus, or genitals
- Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
- Memory loss, depression, and other neurologic disorders.
Many of these symptoms and illness come from the opportunistic infections as in AIDS, the immune system is badly damaged.
According to UNAIDS,
- There were approximately 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2016. Of these, 2.1 million were children (<15 years old).
- Currently, only 60% of people with HIV know their status. The remaining 40% (over 14 million people) still need to access HIV testing services.
- 1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2016, bringing the total number of people who have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic to 35.0 million.
Content Source: https://www.hiv.gov/
What was the reason behind writing this blog??
Although we all know everything about the HIV/AIDS, still we do not make any positive difference with a HIV infected person. We all get stick to stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
My only intention through this blog post was to create an awareness and to ask all of us that do not treat HIV/AIDS infected person diffrently. They all are like us. They can also lead a normal life, and more importantly, IT IS THEIR RIGHT. Therefore, help them.
So, let us make some difference and let us together Bring The Change.