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HIV Disease And Aids – Causes, Symptoms, Measures, Treatment , Myths

Refers To Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, A Disorder That’s Due To The Individual Immunodeficiency Virus (HTV). HIV is a persistent viral infection that, left untreated, effects in reduced resistance to other diseases and cancers (especially Kaposi’s sarcoma), which may lead to death.

Disease with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which in many instances results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), has been the most written about, most studied and most worried disease of the previous two decades. Despite the development of exceptionally Powerful drugs to restrict the disorder there’s still no vaccine against the virus, and the amount of people with HIV disease continues to grow, particularly in developing countries.

HIV is considered to have originated in Africa, where a similar virus is carried by some species of primates. The virus is believed to have spread from monkeys to people through spit in Stings, subsequently all over the world from person to person in body fluids. The first recognized cases of AIDS in the US happened in 1981, when there was an outbreak of uncommon cases of pneumonia and skin cancer in young gay men in Los Angeles. Two years after, the vims was isolated and identified as HIV.

HIV infects and slowly destroys cells in the immune system, weakening the body’s reaction to diseases and cancers. Individuals infected with HIV may have no symptoms for several years, or they may experience frequent or lengthy moderate illnesses, but they all grow antibodies to the virus, which can be found by a blood test; they’re said to be HIV positive. When the immune system becomes severely weakened, an infected individual can be said to have AIDS. Someone with AIDS grows serious diseases due to organisms that are generally harmless to healthy individuals and is also susceptible to certain cancers.

Who Is Affected?

By the end of 1998, there were about 22,000 people in the UK who’d HIV disease, with 2,000 new cases a year. Global, over 33 million people are believed to be infected, 9 out of 10 of whom are unaware they have the state; the amount is growing. As an outcome of developments in drug treatment, deaths due to AIDS have dropped dramatically in the developed world since 1995. The issue of AIDS is substantially greater in developing countries, where most individuals with HIV disease reside and where the new drugs are unavailable or unaffordable.

An estimated 10 percent of all AIDS patients in America are age 50 and older (about 75,000). The bulk, or about 52 percent, of these elderly people with AIDS, are either African American or Hispanic American, based on the National Institute on Aging. Among girls alone, the percentages are considerably higher: of all females older than age 50 who’ve AIDS, 70 percent are either African-American or Hispanic.

Individuals who participate in high-risk sexual behaviour for example anal sex or men who don’t use a condom (and their sexual partners) are in danger for getting HIV. Many elderly folks consider condoms only in the context of contraceptives, and women beyond menopause may erroneously believe that condoms are unneeded when they have sexual intercourse. Although pregnancy isn’t a threat for a postmenopausal woman, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases continue to be threats throughout life.

Some people got HIV through blood transfusions that occurred between 1978 and 1985 when the blood supply did include blood tainted with the HIV virus. Other individuals have got HIV through sharing needles, not only for using prohibited drugs but occasionally to inject insulin for diabetes. Anyone who has shared needles with another individual should be examined for HIV/AIDS. Elderly individuals are occasionally embarrassed or scared to be analyzed for HIV/AIDS, and therefore, they take no actions. This is a mistake because in the early phases of the disorder, medicine can be taken to delay its progress. Additionally, the disorder could be more virulent in elderly people than it’s in younger individuals.

How Is HIV Transmitted?

The HIV virus isn’t the common cold – it’s not infectious. HIV is carried in body fluids including blood, semen, vaginal secretions, saliva and breast milk, although not to the exact same level. All body fluids don’t consequently have the same possibility for disease. Spit from an infected individual includes the HIV virus but in this kind of small amount that it’d be extremely hard to be infected by spit. HIV is most frequently transmitted sexually – by vaginal, anal and, more infrequently, oral sex. You’re more susceptible to HIV infection and more likely to pass on the virus if you’ve got another sexually transmitted disease.

You’re also at increased risk of HIV infection if you use intravenous drugs and share or reuse needles contaminated with the virus. Medical workers are also at risk from dirty needles or from contact with infected body fluids, but the risk is quite low.

HIV infection can be passed from an infected woman to the fetus or to the infant at birth or by breastfeeding. The virus may also be transmitted through organ transplants or blood transfusions. Nevertheless, in developed nations screening of blood, organs and tissues for HIV is now routine, making the risk of infection incredibly low.

HIV infection cannot be transmitted by regular person contact, including shaking hands or by coughs or sneezes, and there’s absolutely no risk to your health from working or living with someone who’s infected with the virus.

What Is The Cause?

HIV enters the bloodstream and infects cells that have a specific arrangement, called the CD4 receptor, on their surfaces. The contaminated cells contain a kind of white blood cell, known as a CD4 lymphocyte, which is responsible for fighting disease. The virus replicates quickly within the cells and destroys them in the procedure.

In the beginning, the immune system can operate normally despite the illness, and symptoms may not develop for years. Yet, particularly if the disease is untreated, the amount of CD4 lymphocytes finally starts to drop, causing increased susceptibility to other diseases and some kinds of cancer.

What Are The Symptoms?

The first symptoms of HIV infection generally appear within 6 weeks of illness. A number of people experience a flu-like illness which could contain some or all the following symptoms:

  • swollen lymph glands
  • temperature
  • exhaustion
  • rash
  • aching muscles
  • sore throat.

These symptoms usually clear up after several weeks, and many individuals with HIV infection feel totally healthy. Nevertheless, in a number of people, any of the following mild illnesses may grow:

  • constant, swollen lymph glands
  • mouth diseases, for example thrush
  • gum disorder
  • serious, persistent herpes simplex diseases, like cold sores
  • extensive genital warts
  • itchy, flaky skin (seborrhoeic dermatitis)
  • weight loss
  • neurological symptoms much like dementia. The time between infection with HIV and the beginning of AIDS changes from person To person, but it can be anywhere between 1 and 14 years. Frequently folks are completely unaware for years that they’re infected with HIV until they develop one or more serious diseases or cancers, known as “AIDS-defining sicknesses”.

Are There Complications?

The single most striking complication of HIV infection is the development of AIDS. A man infected with HIV is said to have grown AIDS if the CD4 lymphocyte count falls below a specific level or if she or he grows a specific AIDS-defining sickness. These illnesses include opportunistic infections (diseases that happen only in individuals who have reduced resistance), specific cancers and difficulties with the nervous system that could lead to dementia, confusion, behaviour changes and memory loss.

Opportunistic Infections

These diseases may result from protozoa, fungi, viruses or bacteria, and they are able to frequently be life threatening.

  • One of the most common illnesses in people who have AIDS is a serious disease of the lungs (pneumonia) by the parasite Pneumocystis carinii.
  • Other common disorders are protozoal, like toxoplasmosis, which can influence the brain.
  • Candida albicans is a fungus that causes light skin-deep diseases in healthy individuals but may generate substantially more serious illnesses in individuals who have AIDS.
  • The cryptococcus fungus may cause fever, headaches and lung diseases.
  • Individuals with AIDS have problems with acute bacterial and viral diseases. Bacterial diseases include tuberculosis and listeriosis, which might result in blood poisoning (septicaemia). Viral infections include those caused by the herpes viruses. Herpes simplex diseases can change the brain, causing meningitis and viral encephalitis.
  • Cytomegalovirus infection may cause quite a few serious illnesses, including pneumonia, viral encephalitis and a kind of eye inflammation that can lead to blindness.

Nevertheless, individuals with AIDS are no more susceptible to common diseases including colds.


The most common cancer that affects individuals with AIDS is Kaposi’s sarcoma, a kind of skin cancer that can additionally influence the interior of the mouth and internal organs. Other cancers that usually grow in individuals with AIDS include lymphomas, like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Cancer of the cervix is an AIDS- defining sickness in women infected with HIV.

Diagnosing HIV And Aids

If you imagine that you simply may have been exposed to HIV infection, you should have a blood test to check for antibodies against the virus. The blood test are often performed if you’ve got symptoms that indicate HIV infection. Permission is consistently obtained before the test, and counselling is given both before and after to discuss the consequences of a favorable outcome.

If your HIV test result is negative, you may be adviced to have another lest in three months because antibodies can take time to develop. HIV infection can also be hard to diagnose in the infant of an infected girl because the mom’s antibodies may stay in the infant’s blood for up to 18 months.

AIDS is diagnosed when an AIDS- defining illness, for example pneumocystis infection or Kaposi’s sarcoma, grows or when a blood test reveals that the CD4 lymphocyte count has lost Below a particular degree.

What Is The Treatment?

If your HIV test result is favourable, you are going to likely be referred to a particular center where you are going to receive tracking, treatment and guidance from a team of health-care professionals.

Drug treatment may be started when you’re diagnosed with HIV infection or when CD4 lymphocyte levels begin to drop. Progress in the utilization of mixtures of particular antiviral drugs, called antiretroviral drugs, that prevent HIV from replicating have made it possible to prevent progression of HIV infection to AIDS and to curb the viral infection to undetectable levels in a number of people.

There are two primary groups of antiretroviral drugs used in the treatment of HIV infection and AIDS: reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors. The drugs work by blocking the procedures required for viral replication without substantially damaging the body cells that the virus has invaded. Reverse transcriptase inhibitors, like zidovudine (AZT), change the genetic material of the infected cell (which is desired by the virus to reproduce) or the genetic material of the virus itself. Protease inhibitors, including ritonavir, prevent the generation of viral proteins required for replication.

Once AIDS has grown, opportunistic infections are dealt with as they happen, generally by treatment with antibiotic drugs, and sometimes, there might also be long term prophylactic treatment against the most common diseases.

Psychological support and practical guidance can be got from the many groups and charitable organizations that help individuals with HIV infection and AIDS.

What Is The Prognosis?

There isn’t any treatment for HIV infection, but the drug treatments accessible the developed world have made it possible to regard the state as a chronic illness in place of as a quickly lethal one. In both years following the introduction of antiviral drug combination treatments in 1995, deaths from AIDS in the developed world dropped drastically. Yet, for most of the individuals with HIV who live in the developing world, the forecast is dismal. Few have access to up to date treatment, and left untreated, half of all individuals infected with the virus develop AIDS within a decade and expire.

Can It Be Prevented?

HIV disease can be prevented by teaching everyone about the risks of infection from a young age.

  • The two primary precautions that everyone can take to prevent sexual transmission are to use a condom during sexual intercourse and to prevent sex with multiple partners. However much you like someone, never give in to the temptation to have sex with a partner you just understand. Speak to him or her before you do anything you might repent. Talk about the risk; if she or he gets angry or resentful, you should ask yourself whether this man is truly worth understanding. Guys are equally as worried about AIDS as girls so they’re generally glad if a girl raises the issue provided that it’s done in a tactful way.
  • Both partners might think about having an HIV test before having unprotected sex in a fresh relationship.
  • Special groups also have to take special precautions. For instance, if you inject drugs intravenously, you must use a clean needle every time.
  • Individuals who are HIV positive need to take particular care to prevent others from coming into contact with their blood or body fluids and should always tell dental or medical staff they are HIV positive.
  • If you’re HIV positive and pregnant, antiviral drugs may be given to reduce the risk of transmission to the fetus. You are often suggested to have a caesarean section.
  • Prevent breastfeeding if you’re HIV positive to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to your baby.

Medical professionals take many measures to prevent transmission of HIV, including screening all blood products and tissues for transplant and using disposable or carefully sterilized gear.

Extensive research is being carried out either to develop a vaccine against HIV or to prevent the development of AIDS. But although researchers are confident they’re going to succeed, there will necessarily be millions more deaths world-wide before a reasonable treatment is located and made accessible to everyone.

Myths About HIV Infection

Because HIV/AIDS is an extremely intimidating issue, many myths and half truths have grown up about how the disease can be transmitted. It should be stressed that HIV is rather hard to get. In an infected individual, there are large numbers of the virus in blood and semen, but little amounts in saliva and vaginal fluid.

Understanding the truth about HIV helps you to behave responsibly. You won’t get HIV

  • from swimming in the exact same pool as an HIV positive man
  • if you kiss an infected man on the mouth, although there’s a negligible risk if the individual has inflamed or bleeding gums
  • from drinking from a glass or eating from a plate that’s been used by an HIV positive man
  • by going to school or faculty with an HIV positive man
  • by seeing someone with HIV at their house or in hospital
  • by hugging, shaking hands or dancing with someone who’s HIV positive
  • by sitting on a toilet seat that’s been used by an infected individual
  • by standing next to an infected individual who’s sneezing; the virus doesn’t go through the air
  • if you’re bitten by an insect
  • if you give blood at a blood transfusion unit.
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