AIDS. Most people get scared when they hear this word.
AIDS is such a disease that causes panic and fear in everyone. But instead of getting afraid, you need to be aware of the symptoms, causes, and prevention methods to avoid virus transmission.
In this blog post, we will cover the symptoms, causes, and ways to prevent HIV so that you no longer stress about AIDS.
Symptoms of HIV/AIDS:
Several symptoms will give you a warning sign of HIV. But the symptoms vary for every individual. Therefore, not everyone will have the same symptoms of HIV.
Moreover, the symptoms of HIV depend on the person. It is also important to know at which stage the person has HIV.
Here are the three stages of HIV and the common symptoms people often experience.
Stage 1: Acute HIV Infection
When people come into contact with the virus, about two-thirds of them have a flu-like sickness. They experience these symptoms within two to four weeks after the infection.
These symptoms are their bodies’ natural response to HIV infection. In this stage, the patient’s body’s immune system gets imbalanced and puts up a fight.
These symptoms are called primary HIV infection or acute retroviral syndrome. The flu-like symptoms might include:
• Night sweats
• Mouth ulcers
• Muscle aches
• Sore throat
• Swollen lymph nodes
Although these symptoms can stay from a few days to several weeks, many people don’t experience them in the early stage of HIV.
Stage 2: Clinical Latency
When the patient’s body can’t win the immunity battle, slowly, the flu-like symptoms go away. But the virus keeps multiplying in this stage, although slower than before.
This stage is called the asymptomatic period of HIV or chronic HIV infection.
This is a vital stage of HIV as most patients become asymptotic in this stage and they become unaware of the fact that they have been infected with HIV.
Furthermore, without proper HIV treatment, this stage can last for ten to fifteen years.
Stage 3: AIDS
If people have HIV but did not go through proper treatment, gradually the virus weakens their immune systems. As a result, they will progress to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), the most severe and final stage of HIV infection.
The common symptoms of AIDS include:
• Rapid weight loss
• Profuse night sweats
• Recurring fever
• Extreme tiredness
• Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in areas like armpits, groin, or neck
• Sores in mouth, anus, or genitals
• Diarrhea that could last for more than a week
• Memory loss, depression, and some other neurologic disorders
Some people might also have red, pink, brown, or purplish blotches inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids. Sometimes they appear on or under their skin.
However, each of these above-mentioned symptoms can be related to some other diseases. Therefore, people need to get tested to confirm if they are HIV-infected.
Causes for HIV:
According to WHO, HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus) targets people’s immune systems. Slowly, it weakens their defense against infections.
The reason behind having AIDS is getting infected with HIV. Generally, the infection spreads through sexual contact. However, in many cases, it may cause for using illicit injection drugs or sharing of needles.
Many times, the virus gets transmitted from mother to child during the pregnancy period. Similarly, it might transmit during childbirth or breastfeeding.
When the person comes into contact with infected blood, the virus transmits in his body. Slowly, the virus weakens his body’s immune system.
HIV slowly destroys CD4 T cells which play a crucial role in helping your body combat diseases. This is how HIV starts weakening the immune system of the infected people.
Prevention for HIV:
People need to be more aware of taking preventive measures for HIV. Additionally, they can reduce the risk of having HIV infection by curbing exposure to certain risk factors associated with HIV.
This may include the key approaches that follow HIV prevention to live a healthier life. Here are some ways in which you can prevent HIV:
• Using male and female condoms
• Testing and counseling regularly for HIV and STIs
• Using antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for prevention
• Eliminating mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV
• Avoiding unsterilized or shared needles for injecting drugs
In addition, you need to be aware of some basics that you must avoid when you have a higher chance of contracting the disease. For this purpose, you need to stay away from:
• Having sex without a barrier method
• Having intimate activities that involve an exchange of bodily fluids
• Misusing injectable drugs
• Misusing alcohol
Although HIV is a matter of serious concern for everyone, if you can take proper actions in HIV testing, treatment, and care, we can prevent AIDS.
For this purpose, we need to spread more awareness worldwide and educate more people about AIDS facts. We should also encourage everyone to get a thorough HIV test at the earliest.
In this way, we can put an end to the fight against HIV-related stigma.
© Ruchie Verma.
Disclaimer: This blog post is meant to be educational in nature and does not replace the advice of a medical professional.
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