HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) / AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
What is HIV
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a retrovirus that causes a slowly progressive disease – HIV infection. The virus affects immune cells that have CD4 receptors on their surface. As a result, the work of the immune system is inhibited and the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) develops, the patient’s body loses the ability to protect itself from infections and tumors, and secondary opportunistic diseases not typical for people with normal immune status occur.
How May HIV/AIDS be Passed?
HIV and AIDS are transmitted during sexual intercourse, through blood and from an infected mother to her child. Use of condoms and single-use syringes can help to prevent transmission of virus. In addition, to find out any new sexual partner’s HIV/AIDS status before having sex with him or her wouldn’t go amiss. And if you are a HIV carrier and pregnant at the same time, you should consult the doctor to enquire how to prevent transmission of the virus to your baby.
Incubation Period of HIV Infection
It ranges from 4 weeks to 1 year, most often it lasts 3 months.
HIV and AIDS Symptoms
Most AIDS symptoms are related to immune system wakening rather than HIV infection itself. And such immune alterations are accompanied by lack of energy, the temperature rises, lymph nodes increase, headache, diarrhea, and pain in the throat, muscles, joints, insomnia and depression. A person becomes inefficient, irritable, anxious, forgetful. In most cases the symptoms last for a long time and do not disappear without medical treatment. Sometimes, HIV infections have lethal outcome.
To know your HIV status, you should submit to a blood test. People who have sex with different partners or often change them shall regularly undergo medical tests.
Treatment of HIV infection is a complex process, requiring a serious and responsible approach both of doctor and patient. AIDS does not have a cure, but some medicines bring relief to the symptoms and some combinations of drugs, for example, Retrovir and norvir help build up the immune system and suppress infections. Combination therapy has saved and lengthened many AIDS patients’. But since drugs have different effects on different people, it’s hard to tell how the treatment will proceed and what complications a patient may obtain due to their side effects. Patients should also take a whole handful of drugs a day until the end of their life. If they stop taking medicines, the symptoms may return or new ones may occur.
If you choose not to treat AIDS
Thanks to treatment AIDS has passed from the category of lethal disease to chronic one. Treatment provides reduction of the disease development rate.