AIDS is no longer an unfamiliar acronym for most of us. Also, we know that it is caused by a virus called Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It is a type of infection commonly spread through sexual contact which will damage the immune system of the body. However, there is more information about HIV/AIDS which we cannot tend to ignore.
What is HIV/AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It is the advanced stage in a person infected with HIV. The HIV weakens the body’s immune system. Therefore, people infected with the HIV will become immunodeficient leading to secondary diseases and complications. They become susceptible to a wide range of infections and diseases such as cancer.
How do you get HIV infection?
The process by which the HIV is spread from one person to another is called HIV transmission. Mainly, HIV transmission occurs when the body fluids of an infected person come in contact with an uninfected person. The common reasons for HIV transmission include:
- Contact with blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, the breast milk of an infected person.
- Infected mother to the child during breastfeeding
- Unprotected sex with an infected person
- Sharing of drug injection equipment such as needles
It is important to note that the HIV does not spread through shaking hands, hugging or sharing food. Also, it does not spread through any insect bites or the air.
Symptoms of AIDS
- Flu-like symptoms such as a sore throat, fever, etc
- Fatigue and loss of appetite
- Pain in the abdomen
- Sores or swelling in the groin
- Gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, etc
- Other opportunistic infections such as pneumonia
Treatment for HIV/AIDS
The principal treatment method for HIV is antiretroviral therapy or ART. It includes a combination of HIV medicines on a routine basis. These drugs will prevent the virus from multiplying in the body. Thereby, the chance of HIV advancing to AIDS can be prevented.
However, ART medicines cannot give complete cure from HIV. But it can help the patient to lead a longer and healthier life.