HIV is the virus causing a long-term disease called AIDS. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. Infection with this virus makes one’s immune system more susceptible or prone to infections and life-limiting diseases like cancer and brain damage. The immune system cannot fight actively against infections. This happens because the destruction of T-helper cells (specifically CD4 cells) caused by the virus and formation of its own copies. This virus is found in a person’s fluids like semen, blood, anal and vaginal fluids, and breast milk. These fluids transmission leads to the spread of the disease called AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Saliva, urine, and sweat do not cause AIDS to spread. The common means of being infected with HIV is through sex. With early detection and treatment, HIV positive (HIV+) person can live a long and healthy life. However, if left untreated, the person will develop AIDS within 9–15 years with seriously damaged immune system as the number of CD4 cells decreases. Unlike other existing viruses, HIV does not leave once it infects meaning once you have it, you will have it for life.
Till date, there is no cure for HIV but scientists are working on it and are positive to find one. Although HIV cannot be get rid from, with proper medical care and antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment, it can be controlled. The ART treatment was introduced in mid-1990s and if taken properly every day, it is proven to prolong the HIV-infected lives. But untreated infection will grow by the time and is divided into the following three stages.
1. Stage 1: acute HIV infection: it occurs within 2–4 weeks of infection with HIV. In this stage, people do not experience any sickness and remain unaware of the infection. A flu-like experience might be observed, but it is body’s normal response to any infection. A general test, a fourth-generation antibody or antigen test, can be done just to ensure a healthy life.
2. Stage 2: clinical latency — HIV dormancy or inactivity: it is also termed as asymptotic or chronic HIV infection. HIV is present in the body and reproduces slowly. There are no symptoms. People taking ART treatment can survive longer and will be in this stage for decades. When this phase ends, the person’s C cells begin to drop with high viral load. People who are not taking medicines will progress faster or this stage might last a longer.
3. Stage 3: AIDS: it is the most critical and severe phase because a person’s immune system is severely damaged with other severe illnesses. If left untreated, people with AIDs can survive for 3 years. Various symptoms in this stage include sweats, chills, swollen lymph glands, fever, weight loss, mouth ulcers, muscle aches, and weakness. People suffering from stage 3 are very infectious.
To know if you are HIV+ or not, the only means is to get tested. If you experience symptoms of flu, like muscle aches, night sweats, fatigue, and weight loss, then visit www.nextdoorlab.com. You can discuss the symptoms and consult with the doctor free at 0124-222-3197. Having these symptoms does not mean that you are HIV+ but some other illness might be persisting inside. But getting tested can relief you from the strain and will help you in having a healthy life. Follow your doctor and take simple precautions in life to stay away from infection. One should practice safe sex, avoid taking drugs intravenously, and use gloves while coming in contact of other person’s blood.