AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
The full form of AIDS is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Acquired means that you can become infected with it. Immune Deficiency refers to the weakness of the body’s immune system. Syndrome means symptoms of a group that forms a disease. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease that can develop in people with HIV. It’s the most advanced stage of HIV. But just because a person has HIV doesn’t mean they’ll develop AIDS. The initial symptoms of this disease may be a brief period of illness such as influenza. AIDS is a disease that can grow for a long time without any symptoms. As the infection progresses, it interferes more and more with the immune system and makes the infected person very vulnerable and thus susceptible to common infections such as tuberculosis, tumors, asthma, etc. HIV kills CD4 cells.
Stages of HIV
HIV infection is divided into three stages;
Acute HIV Infection
This is the first stage of HIV infection, and it generally develops within 2 to 4 weeks after infection with HIV. During this time, some people have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and rash. In the acute stage of infection, HIV multiplies rapidly and spreads throughout the body. This stage is also called primary HIV infection or acute retroviral syndrome.
Chronic HIV Infection
This is the second stage of HIV infection. In this phase, HIV continues to multiply in the body but at very low levels. People with chronic HIV infection may not have any HIV-related symptoms. Without ART, chronic HIV infection usually advances to AIDS in 10 years or longer, though in some people it may advance faster. This stage is also called asymptomatic HIV infection or clinical latency.
AIDS / Advanced Infection
This is the final and most severe stage of HIV infection. Because HIV has severely damaged the immune system, the body can’t fight off opportunistic infections. In this phase, your immunity is greatly reduced making you more susceptible to common infections.
Cause of HIV infection
- By having unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person.
- By blood transfusion
- From mother to child (at birth), it can also spread by breastfeeding.
- Through oral sex, in some cases, this may be possible by deep kissing.
- using hypodermic needles/
- from a donation organ received through an infected donor.
Symptoms of AIDS
- Rapid weight loss
- Recurrent fever or excessive night sweats
- Sore throat
- Extreme fatigue, muscle and joint pain
How to avoid AIDS
- Be loyal to your spouse. Do not have sex with more than one person.
- Always use a condom during sexual intercourse.
- If you are HIV infected or have AIDS, then do disclose this to your spouse. Keep the matter hidden and continue sex in the same situation, your partner can also get infected and it can affect your children too.
- Never donate blood if you are HIV infected or have AIDS.
- Insist on having a blood HIV test before taking blood.
- If you suspect HIV infection, get your HIV tested immediately. It is noteworthy that often HIV germs are not detected by HIV testing even after 3 to 6 months of infection. So after the third and sixth months, repeat the HIV test.
AIDS does not spread for these reasons
There are many misconceptions about HIV. The following viruses cannot transmit:
- Shaking hands with HIV infected or AIDS affected person.
- Living with a HIV infected or AIDS person or eating with them.
- Healthy and HIV infected in the same vessel or kitchen or by cooking with a person with AIDS.
Treatment for AIDS
There is currently no treatment available for AIDS or HIV. However, treatments can prevent the progression of the condition and provide an opportunity for most people living with HIV to live longer and relatively healthier lives. More effective and better tolerant treatments have developed that improve general health and quality of life.
A person living with HIV can reduce their viral load to the extent that it is no longer detectable in a blood test. After assessing several large studies, the CDC concluded that individuals who have no detectable viral load effectively have no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.
Emergency HIV pills or post-exposure prophylaxis
If a person believes that they have been exposed to the virus within the last 3 days, then anti-HIV drugs, called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), may be able to prevent infection. Take PEP as soon as possible after possible exposure to the virus. PEP is a total treatment lasting 28 days, and physicians will continue to monitor HIV after completion of treatment.
Treatment of HIV includes antiretroviral drugs that fight HIV infection and slow down the spread of the virus in the body. People living with HIV typically take a combination of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) or antiretroviral therapy (cART).
Complementary or alternative medicine
Although many people who have AIDS try complementary, alternative herbal/Ayurvedic alternatives, such as herbal remedies, no evidence confirms their effectiveness. According to some limited studies, vitamin supplements may provide some benefit in overall health. It is important to discuss these options with the healthcare provider/doctor.
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