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HIV/AIDS: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

World Aids Day 2021- WHO take on this!
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Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic and potentially fatal disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV affects your body’s ability to fight infections and disease.

HIV/AIDS is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can be transmitted through infected blood or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Without medication, HIV can take years to weaken your immune system and even turn it into AIDS.

There is no cure for HIV / AIDS, but medication can significantly slow the progression of the disease.

What are the symptoms of HIV/AIDS?

HIV and AIDS symptoms vary, depending on the infection phase.

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Sore throat and painful mouth sores
  • Muscle aches and joint pain
  • Swollen lymph glands, mainly on the neck
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Diarrhoea
  • Night sweats

When to see a doctor?

If you think you have HIV/AIDS virus or you are at risk of contracting the virus, seeking medical help is always a good option. 

What are the causes of HIV/AIDS?

HIV is caused by a virus and can spread through sexual contact, blood transfusions, or from mother to child through childbirth, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. 

What are the preventions of HIV/AIDS?

Following are some of the simple steps you can do to avoid getting HIV/AIDS or its transmission-

  • Use treatment as prevention (TasP)
  • Use post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) when exposed to HIV
  • Use condom while having sexual intercourse 
  • Use of preexposure prophylaxis to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV 
  • Always use a clean and new needle 
  • Before pregnancy, have an HIV checkup and take all the precautions if you are HIV positive

What is the treatment of HIV/AIDS?

Treatment should begin as soon as possible after an HIV diagnosis. The main treatment for HIV is antiretroviral therapy, a combination of daily medications that prevent the virus from multiplying. This helps protect CD4 cells and keeps the immune system strong enough to work against the disease.

Antiretroviral therapy helps prevent HIV from turning into AIDS. It also helps reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to other people.

If the treatment is successful, the viral load is “undetectable”. The person still has HIV virus, but not seen in the test results. And if that person stops taking antiretroviral therapy, the viral load will rise again and HIV can attack CD4 cells again.

The theme of World AIDS Day 2021 is End inequalities. End AIDS” on this occasion, WHO emphasizes on End inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics


FAQs

Ques: What are HIV symptoms in men?

Ans: HIV symptoms vary from person to person but are similar in both women and men. These HIV symptoms can come and go or become progressively worse.

If a person is exposed to HIV, they may also be exposed to other STIs like-

  • gonorrhoea
  • syphilis
  • chlamydia
  • trichomoniasis

Ques: What are HIV symptoms in women?

Ans: Both men and women have similar symptoms of HIV, but women with HIV are at increased risk for:

  • pelvic inflammatory disease 
  • recurrent vaginal yeast infections
  • other vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis
  • menstrual cycle changes
  • human papillomavirus, causing genital warts and can lead to cervical cancer

Ques: What are the stages of HIV/AIDS?

Ans: There are 4 stages of HIV/AIDS-

  • Stages of Infection – (diagnosis)
  • Stage 1: Infection
  • Stage 2: Asymptomatic
  • Stage 3: Symptomatic
  • Stage 4: AIDS/Progression of HIV to AIDS

Ques: What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

Ans: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the human immune system, but AIDS is a term used when HIV has caused the immune system.

Ques: What is the difference between HIV1 and HIV2?

The differences between HIV1 and HIV2 are-

  • HIV-1 is the most common type of HIV and have 95% of all infections, whereas the HIV-2 type is comparatively uncommon and less infectious.
  • HIV-2 is less deadly and progresses more slowly than HIV-1.  

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