All about HIV.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is a virus that affects the immune system gradually. It attacks a type of white blood cell known as T-helper cell and
multiplies inside them. T-helper cells are also called CD4 cells. There are two
types of HIV, depending on their presence:
- HIV-1: found worldwide
- HIV-2: this is found mainly in Western Africa, some cases in India and Europe.
Basic facts about HIV
- It can take around 10 to 15 years for AIDS to develop, if left untreated, which is when HIV has severely damaged the immune system.
- Early diagnosis can help in prevention of symptoms and extended life.
- The virus is found in the following body fluids of an HIV positive person: semen, blood, vaginal and anal fluids and breast milk. Not through sweat, saliva or urine.
- The common risk of infection is in using infected syringes.
- Mothers can also pass on the virus to infants through breastfeeding.
Basic facts about AIDS
- Its full form is acquired immune deficiency Syndrome. Effects of HIV lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
- It is the last stage of HIV infection.
- There is a high risk of other fatal conditions,including cancer and brain illnesses.
- It is the final stage of HIV infection.
- There is an increased risk of developing cancerand brain illnesses.
Causes of HIV/AIDS
HIV is a retrovirus the vital organs of the human immune system. The virus progresses if not treated. The spread of virus varies widely between individuals and depends on many factors like age of the patient, body's ability to defend against HIV, access to healthcare, existence of coexisting infections, patient’s genetic inheritance, and resistance to certain strains of HIV.The virus cannot be transmitted from casual body contact, touching unbroken skin,using the same toilet, sharing towels, sharing cutlery, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Symptoms of early HIV infection may include -
Fever, chills, joint pain,muscle ache, sore throat, sweats particularly at night, enlarged glands, a red rash, tiredness, weakness and weight loss.
Symptoms of later stages may include -
Blurred vision, diarrhea, which is usually persistent or chronic, dry cough, permanent tiredness,shortness of breath, white spots on the tongue or mouth, including the early symptoms. During late-stage HIV infection, the risk of developing a life-threatening illness is much greater.
Life-threatening illnesses may be controlled and treated with proper HIV treatment. There is currently no permanent cure for HIV or AIDS. Treatment can only slow the course of the condition - some infected people can live a long and relatively healthy life.