Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
The virus attacking the body’s immune system and weakening it, which ultimately reduces the body’s potential to fight against diseases and infections.
It is mainly spread by coming in contact with certain kinds of body fluid of the person who is already infected with HIV, especially during unprotected sex that includes sex without using the condom or such medicines that are used to treat HIV. It may also cause by using the same injection, or any medical instrument used for the infected patients.
Within the 2-4 weeks after infection, the infected people may develop flu-like symptoms (acute HIV infection), these may last for few weeks. The person may feel like:
- Muscles aches.
- Sore throat.
- Night Sweats.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Mouth ulcers.
Though the above symptoms don’t conclude that the person is HIV positive, it may be due to other illnesses. It is also observed that during acute HIV infection, some people may not feel sick. It is always suggested to undergo the HIV test, after consulting the health care provider.
Before going through any kind of treatment or medication, one should undergo the test to get surety about the disease, and so that person if tested positive may get mentally prepare and prevents getting further transmitted.
HIV should be treated as soon as possible, because any kind of delay in treatment may lead to ‘acquired immunodeficiency syndrome’ commonly known as ‘AIDS’. Though there is no such effective treatment or medication found to date, and once the person gets once infected will have to suffer a lifetime.
However, antiretroviral therapy or ART is the medicine available to HIV patients. HIV-positive patients should restrict themselves by coming in contact (sexual contact) with normal people without using condoms. These days medicines such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
Stages of HIV
Infected people should always take proper treatment, under the health care provider and if not done so, the stages of HIV may progress, which can be life-threatening also. Proper treatment can slow down the progression of the infection and with advanced treatment, the chances of developing the infection up to stage 3 get reduced.
Stage 1: Acute HIV Infection
People may have symptoms like that in flu and will have a large amount of HIV in the blood and are contagious. Although some people may not even feel sick, it’s not necessary that every time flu-like symptoms are due to HIV, so one should visit their health care professionals.
Stage 2: Chronic HIV Infection or clinical latency or asymptomatic HIV
HIV slows down its reproduction rate, people even do not show any symptoms, but people may face the worst condition after some time if they discontinue taking medicine as the infection will progress faster or slower.
In this stage people can transmit HIV, at the end of the phase the level of HIV goes high in the blood, as a result, the CD4 cells number gets down and the person may get into level 3. Although continuing medicine and proper medicine may stop the person to move into stage 3.
Stage 3: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
The late and the most severe stage of HIV infection is the Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS. It occurs when the body’s immune system gets completely damaged due to the infection of the virus.
An important point to notice is that AIDS occurs when HIV is not been treated properly. These are called opportunistic infections.
AIDS is diagnosed when the person’s CD4 cell count drops below the range of 200 cells/mm, people are at high infections and if left untreated, they will survive for about three years.
So, visit your Health Care Professional soon if you think that you might have been infected with such infections or are at risk of contracting such infections.