HIV and AIDS: Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention
What is AIDS?
- The number of CD4 cells falls down below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood.
- Developed one or more opportunistic infections irrespective of CD4 count.
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How to figure out if I have HIV?
How does HIV get transmitted?
- Semen and pre-seminal fluid
- Rectal fluids
- Breast milk
- Vaginal fluid
How is HIV infection spread from one person to another?
HIV can be spread only through specific activities. The most common ways of transmitting the infection include
- It can be transmitted through sexual intercourse with HIV-negative partners devoid of any protection.
- Sharing injection drug equipment like needles.
However, the less common ways include
- From a mother to the child during birth, pregnancy, or breastfeeding
- Getting stuck with HIV contaminated needle
Rare transmission cases
- Having oral sex
- Receiving blood products, blood transfusions, or organ transplants
- Contact between wounds, broken skin or mucous membrane and HIV infected blood-contaminated fluids
- Water or air.
- Ticks, mosquitoes, or other insects.
- Shaking hands. Sharing toilets, sharing dishes or glasses, hugging, or any other.
- Drinking fountains.
- Other sexual activities that do not involve the body fluid’s exchange.
Who is at a higher risk of HIV?Anyone can get HIV infection, but specific groups have a higher risk of getting infected with the disease. This includes:
- People who have sexually transmitted diseases.
- People who injected drugs with the shared needles.
- People who engage in risky sexual behaviours.
- Bisexual men.
Symptoms of HIV
The initial signs of the HIV infection can include flu-like symptoms. This includes:
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Mouth ulcers
- Swollen lymph nodes
The abovementioned symptoms may come and go within two to four weeks, as this stage is known as acute HIV infection.
If the infection at this stage is not treated, it can become a chronic HIV infection. However, often there are no symptoms at this stage, but if not treated on time, it can eventually weaken the body’s immune system.
This is true that there is no cure for HIV infection. But it can be treated with medications. The medicinal treatment of HIV is known as antiretroviral therapy, making the infection a manageable chronic condition.
The therapy also diminishes the risk of transmitting the virus to others. Most people with the disease live longer if they start the treatment on time. However, it is essential to take good care of yourself and lead an enhanced quality of life.
Can HIV/ AIDS be prevented?
One can diminish the risk of transmitting the virus or infection by
- Getting tested for the infection.
- Selecting less risky sexual behaviours.
- Not injecting drugs.
- Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases and treated for the same.
- Talking to the health care provider about the medications to prevent HIV.
The HIV infection weakens the person’s immune system and makes them more likely to develop several other diseases and specific types of cancers.
Let us get acquainted with the complications involved
Infections common to HIV/ AIDS
- Pneumocystis Pneumonia
- Cryptococcal Meningitis
Cancers common to HIV/ AIDS
- Kaposi’s Sarcoma
Other complications involved!