HIV is an abbreviation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus attacks the body’s immune system, weakens its ability to defend against diseases, making the body vulnerable to other infectious diseases such as bacteria and viruses.

HIV-infected patients do not get AIDS immediately (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) , until the infection reaches the last stage, and if the condition is well controlled, it will not even turn into AIDS.

Causes of HIV infection

It is transmitted by blood, semen and vaginal fluids. It may be infected by:

Not wearing condoms while having sex with HIV patient through vaginal, anal or oral sex, especially if there is a wound to the genitals, anus, or oral tissue, and
Using needles with HIV remnants, any injection equipment, such as tattoos.
The fetus is transmitted vertically through the pregnant mother or through breastfeeding.
The wound is exposed to blood, semen or vaginal secretions containing HIV.
Organ transplant in people infected with HIV

HIV is NOT transmitted by the following behaviors:

Touching, such as handshake
Hugging or Kissing
Coughing or sneezing
Blood Donation (as a donor)
Sharing pool or toilet
Sharing bed Sheets
Sharing cutlery or food
Exposure to animals, mosquitoes or other insects

Symptoms of HIV infection

The incubation period of HIV is between 1 and 10 years. Most infected people may not have symptoms for more than 10 years after the first acute onset, but the virus will gradually erode the immune system for infection during this time, though it is still contagious. In half of the infected patients during the acute infection period, about 6 weeks after initial infection, the following symptoms appear:

Fever
Sore throat
Tired
Poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Skin rash

Final stage of HIV infection

When the number of CD4 cells (an immune cell) in the body drops to about 200, the number of a normal person is 800-1200, the immune system of the infected person becomes weak to fight various kinds of opportunistic infections such as oral esophagus candidiasis infection, Pneumocystosis Pneumonia and banding Herpes (Herpes zoster or Shingles), etc. Patients entering the onset will experience a sharp weight loss, fatigue, night sweating, constant fever for more than 3 months, diarrhea, persistent lymphatic glands swelling, and indicate that the patient has acquired AIDS. The above list is the symptoms that are likely to occur from long-term clinical observation. Each person has different physical condition and the course of onset is different. Screening can be made to confirm HIV infection.

Complications of HIV

Tuberculosis

In countries with insufficient resources, tuberculosis is the most vulnerable disease for people living with HIV and the leading cause of death for people living with AIDS.

Herpes virus infection

This virus is transmitted through body fluids, including slobes, blood, urine, semen and breast milk. A healthy immune system can suppress the virus, but it lurks in the body, and once immune function diminishes, the virus reactivates, causing damage to the eyes, digestive tract, lungs, or other organs.

Candida infection

This is also a common HIV complication that causes inflammatory reactions and creates a thick layer of white spots in the mucosa of the mouth, tongue, esophagus or vagina.

Cryptococcal meningitis

This is a common one in central nervous system infection caused by fungi in the soil that causes the brain and spinal cord Peripheral films and body fluids produce inflammatory reactions.

Toxoplasmosis

This is a deadly infectious disease spread mainly by Toxoplasmosis parasite in cats. Infected cats spread the parasite to other animals or in the human body.

Cryptosporidiosis

Cryptosporidiosis is usually parasitic in animals and humans can be infected by ingestion of contaminated food and water. Parasite grows in the patient’s intestines and bile ducts, leading to severe chronic diarrhea.

Other

After the infection becomes AIDS, in addition to the above infection, the patient is also likely to develop cancer or cause other neurological and kidney problems.

Diagnosis of HIV infection



HIV infection can be confirmed through a blood test, and the accuracy of the test depends on the time the subject was last exposed to HIV, such as the last unsafe sex or sharing an unclean needle. The most accurate test time is 3 months after engaging in high-risk behaviors.

Test results

A positive test indicates that the body has developed an antibody, i.e. this infection is confirmed. (This result does not mean AIDS, but it is not known when HIV becomes AIDS.)

The test is negative

Indicates that there are no HIV antibodies in the body.

A negative test after 3 months of high risk activity indicates no HIV infection.
If tested negative within 3 months of engaging in high-risk activity, the test should be tested again.

Treatment and control of HIV

At present, the HIV virus cannot be completely cured, and the vaccine is still under study. However,  with todays scientific advances, it can be detected early and be controlled easily. It is now possible to effectively suppress the amount of viruses in the body, slow down the disease, and prevent HIV from developing into AIDS. Nowadays, AIDS patients does not die immediately, because the current anti-HIV combination therapy works well, making AIDS a chronic disease that allows patients to control the condition of the continuation of life. Regular check-ups, timely medication, and healthy lifestyles enable patients to maintain immune system function.

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