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HIV/AIDS - Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

HIV/AIDS - Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

HIV/AIDS - Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Published on Feb 10, 2020

HIV/AIDS


HIV is an acronym for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and AIDS which is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, occurs in the later stage of HIV infection. People infected with HIV can take up to 10 years to develop AIDS.


What is HIV and How Does it Affect a Person’s Health?


The HIV disease weakens the body's immune defenses by destroying CD4 (T-cell) lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that protect us from attacks by bacteria, viruses and various damaging pathogens. When these white blood cells are destroyed or weakened, they will no longer be effective as defending the body against infections.

Additionally, HIV infection increases the severity of some mere diseases and conditions. It also increases the possibility of getting some cancers.


What is AIDS?


An individual infected with HIV can take up to 10 years to advance to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is the end stage of HIV infection and is deadly. A man or woman with AIDS usually dies between one and a half to three years after getting AIDS, from a variety of infections and cancers.


How is HIV Transmitted?


more than 400 new cases of HIV are diagnosed every year in Nigeria. Sexual transmission remains the major mode of HIV transmission amongst Nigerians.


HIV is transmitted:


• Through unprotected sexual intercourse with an HIV-infected partner.

• From sharing of injection needles and different piercing instruments used for tattooing or acupuncture that are tainted with HIV.

• From an infected mom to her child during pregnancy, at birth, or via breastfeeding.

• Through receiving infected blood and blood products (e.g. organs, plasma).

Note: HIV is NOT contracted through social contact such as hugging and touching. Neither can it be spread through contact with objects such as food or toilet seats, or by biting bugs such as mosquitoes.


HIV Treatment


Currently, there is no treatment for HIV infection.

However, there are medications in the form of anti-retroviral therapy that can help enhance the patient's immune system so as to delay the onset of AIDS. These pills act by suppressing the replication of the HIV virus, therefore delaying the spread of HIV in the body and the onset of opportunistic infections. Persons with HIV who undergo anti-retroviral therapy are now likely to have a near-normal life expectancy.


How can I Protect Myself from getting infected by HIV?


You can shield yourself from HIV by:

• Staying away from casual sex.

• Remaining faithful to your partner and being sincere about your sexual history. If you are both not sure of your HIV status, consider going for HIV screening together.

• Imbibing to safe sex especially if you have multiple sex partners, for example by the use of condoms consistently and correctly. Although condoms do now not provide 100 percent safety from HIV, they provide at least 90 percent protection.

• Continual use a new latex condom during every sexual intercourse, and following the manufacturer's instructions.

• Watching the consumption of alcohol and tablets as these can have an effect on your judgment, causing you to engage in risky sexual behaviors.

• Solely use of clean, sterile needles and selecting a reliable service provider when getting a piercing, tattoo or an injection.

• Accepting only HIV-screened blood during blood transfusions.

You can't tell if anyone has HIV based appearances alone. People with HIV generally have no signs or symptoms.


How do I Know If I am infected by HIV?


Usually, an HIV-infected individual may not notice any symptoms. Some persons can also however experience the following common signs of HIV:

• Tiredness

• Weight loss

• Prolonged fever

• Night sweats

• Skin rash

• Chronic diarrhea

• Decreased resistance to infections

HIV screening is the only way to identify for sure if one is infected with the virus or not. Most clinics offer routine HIV screening services, with some medical clinics providing speedy HIV testing as well. Rapid HIV tests produce very quick outcomes. In about 20 minutes, you may be able to know your HIV status.

The identities of persons who go for HIV screening and those found to be HIV-positive will be kept firmly confidential.

People engaging in high-risk sexual behavior (e.g. having more than one sexual partner or engaging in casual sex) should often get tested so that any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are detected and handled as early as possible. HIV treatments can substantially delay the onset of AIDS and decrease the risk of death.

You can also get yourself examined for STIs or HIV/AIDS at polyclinics, private clinics and hospitals.


What to Do If You Have HIV/AIDS


Under the Infectious Diseases Act, it is an offence for persons who know that they are infected with HIV or AIDS to not inform their sexual partners of their HIV condition before engaging in sexual intercourse.

If you think that you have HIV or AIDS or are at risk of contracting the virus, you must:

• Take sensible precautions to protect your sexual partner (e.g. by using condoms) or

• Go for HIV testing to verify that you are HIV-negative or

• Inform your partner of the threat of contracting HIV


Disclaimer: The information provided herein is for patient general knowledge only and should not be used during any medical emergency, for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Duplication for personal and commercial use must be authorized in writing by Surjen.com.