AIDS ( Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)is a disease caused by the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) that happens when virus badly damaged the body’s immune system and then interferes with body’s ability to fight against disease and infection.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also be spread from mother to child during pregnancy or by contact with infected blood, breast-feeding or childbirth. It may take years without medication before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS.
There is still no cure available for AIDS/HIV, but medications may slow the progression of disease. These drugs have reduced acquired immunodeficiency syndrome deaths in many developed nations.
The signs and symptoms of AIDS and HIV vary, depending on the phase of infection.
Primary infection (Acute HIV)
Some individual that infected by HIV develop a flu type illness within 14 to four 25 days after the virus enters the body. This illness called acute HIV (primary infection), may last for a few weeks. Possible signs and symptoms are following:
- Joint pain and muscle aches
- Painful mouth sores and sore throat
- Swollen lymph glands, mainly on the neck
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
These symptoms can be so mild and the amount of virus in your viral load (bloodstream) is so high at this time. So, the infection spreads more easily during acute HIV than during the next stage.
Clinical latent infection (Chronic HIV)
In this infection, HIV is still present in white blood cells and in the body. However, many people may not have any infections or symptoms during this time and develop more severe disease much sooner.
This stage can last for many years if you’re not receiving ART (antiretroviral therapy).
Symptomatic HIV infection
Virus continues to multiply and destroy your immune cells that help fight off germs .you may develop chronic signs and symptoms or mild infections such as:
- Swollen lymph nodes, often one of the first signs ofHIV infection
- Weight loss
- Thrush (oral yeast infection)
Herpes zoster (shingles)
Progression to AIDS
When AIDS occurs, your immune system has been severely destroyed. You’ll be more likely to develop opportunistic cancers or opportunistic infections.
Some of these infections may include the following signs and symptoms:
- Recurring fever
- Swollen lymph glands
- Chronic diarrhea
- Persistent unusual lesions or white spots on your tongue or in your mouth
- Persistent, unexplained fatigue
- Weight loss
- Skin bumps or rashes
A virus caused HIV. It can spread through blood or sexual contact or from mother to child during pregnancy, breast-feeding or childbirth.
How does HIV become AIDS?
HIV destroys CD4 T cells, white blood cells that play a vital role in helping your body fight disease. The immune system becomes weaker if yo have fewer CD4T cells. HIV infection that has few or no symptoms, for years before it turns into AIDS. When CD4 T cell falls below 200 or someone have an AIDS-defining complication, like serious cancer or infection, AIDS is diagnosed.
How HIV spreads
To become infected with HIV, infected blood, vaginal secretions or semen must enter your body. HIV can occur in many ways:
- By having sex
If you have vaginal, oral or anal sex with an infected partner whose blood, vaginal secretions or semen enter your body, you may become infected. The virus can enter through small tears or mouth sores that sometimes may be develop in vagina or rectum during sexual contact.
- By sharing needles
Sharing contaminated IV (intravascular) drug paraphernalia (needles and syringes) can cause high risk of HIV and other chronic diseases, like hepatitis.
- From blood transfusions
In some cases, blood transfusions can be transmitted virus from one person to another.
- During pregnancy or delivery or through breast-feeding
Mothers that infected with HIV can pass the virus on to their babies. Mothers who are HIV-positive and get treatment for the infection during pregnancy can greatly lower the risk to their babies to be infected
Anyone of any race, age, sex or sexual orientation can be infected with AIDS/HIV. However, you are at higher risk of HIV/AIDS if you:
- Have unprotected sex
When you have sex, use a new polyurethane or latex condom every time. Vaginal sex is much better than anal sex because it is less risky than anal, If you have multiple sexual partners, your risk of HIV increases.
- Have an STI
Many STIs produce open sores (act as doorways for HIV to enter your body) on your genitals.
- Use IV drugs
Sometimes, people who use IV drugs, share syringes and needles that exposes to droplets of other people’s blood.
HIV infection weak the body’s immune system and to develop many infections and certain types of cancers.
Infections common to HIV/AIDS
- Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP)
- Candidiasis (thrush)
- Tuberculosis (TB)
- Cryptococcal meningitis
Cancers common to HIV/AIDS
- Kaposi’s sarcoma
- Wasting syndrome
- Neurological complications
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
There’s no cure for AIDS and no vaccine to prevent HIV infection. But you can save yourself and others from infection.
Following preventive measures that help in preventing the spread of HIV:
- Use treatment as prevention (TasP)
- Regular checkups and taking your medication(using TasP) exactly as prescribed is the prevention from HIV.
- If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV, Use post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
If you think you’ve been exposed through needles, sex, or in the workplace, contact your doctor and take PEP as soon as possible within the first 72 hours can greatly reduce your risk of becoming infected with HIV.
- Use a fresh condom every time you have sexual contact
If you have anal or vaginal sex, use a new condom every time. Women can use a female condom. If using a lubricant, make sure it’s water-based because oil-based lubricants can weaken condoms and cause them to break. Use a nonlubricated, dental dam (a piece of medical-grade latex) or a cut-open condom during oral sex.
- Consider preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
The risk of sexually transmitted HIV infection can be reduced by the combination drugs emtricitabine plus tenofovir alafenamide (Descovy) and emtricitabine plus tenofovir (Truvada)in people at very high risk. PrEP can reduce your risk of getting HIV from injection drug use by more than 70% and from sex by more than 90%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Tell your sexual partners if you have HIV
It’s important to tell all your past and sexual partners that you’re HIV-positive and will be tested.
- Use a clean needle
To inject drugs make sure that needle should be sterile and don’t share it to others.
- Consider male circumcision
Some evidence shows that male circumcision can help to reduce the risk of getting HIV infection.
After a diagnosis of HIV, treatment should begin as soon as possible, regardless of viral infection.
Antiretroviral therapy is the main treatment for HIV. This therapy is a combination of daily medications that stop the virus from viral load. This helps to protect CD4 cells, keeping the immune system strong enough to take measures against disease. It also helps reduce the risk of transmission of virus to others and helps to keep HIV from progressing to AIDS.
Many antiretroviral therapy medications are considered to treat HIV. They work to prevent HIV from destroying CD4 cells, which help the immune system that generate a response to infection. This helps to stop the transmission from one person to others.
These antiretroviral medications are including:
- nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs)
- non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs)
- CCR5 antagonists, also known as entry inhibitors
- protease inhibitors
- integrase strand transfer inhibitors
- fusion inhibitors