HIV is a disease that can spread unknowingly if symptoms go undetected. Recognizing the signs early is key so that timely treatment can be started.
In this post we will cover all aspects of HIV – how it spreads, what are its symptoms, how testing is done, and ways to control it.
Table of Contents
What is HIV?
- HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus
- It attacks the immune system causing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS
- Difference between being HIV positive and having AIDS is crucial to understand
- Getting tested is important even if you are asymptomatic
Now let’s talk about how HIV spreads and what are the initial symptoms.
How Does HIV Spread?
HIV spreads by close contact with infected person’s fluids:
1. Unprotected Sex:- Exchange of semen, vaginal fluid via intercourse transmits HIV if any partner has it
2. Mother to Child:- Baby can get infected with HIV in the womb from positive mother
3. Contaminated Blood:- Blood transfusion, organ donation, injections can transmit infected blood
4. Breastfeeding:- HIV positive mother can pass on virus to baby via breastmilk
Thus it’s crucial to take precautions like using protection and getting tested regularly.
Now let’s talk about the symptoms of HIV.
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Some common initial symptoms are:
1. Fever:- Low grade fever of above 100°F lasting for a few days
2. Fatigue:- Feeling tired from minimal activities
3. Body Aches:- Headache, joint pains, muscle pain
4. Gastrointestinal Issues:- Nausea, diarrhea, weight loss
5. Swollen Lymph Nodes:- Enlarged glands in neck, armpits, groin
6. Skin Rashes:- Red rashes on face, mouth, arms
7. Night Sweats:- Severe sweating episodes at night
Later more severe symptoms like pneumonia, tuberculosis, cancer may appear indicating weakened immunity.
Thus getting tested and treated at the initial stage gives best outcome.
Now let’s talk about HIV testing.
HIV tests check for HIV antibodies in the body in two ways:
1. Blood Test – Draw small amount of blood from vein
2. Oral Fluid Test – Swab inside mouth to collect saliva
Both tests are 99% accurate nowadays. Repeat testing every 3-6 months is must if any doubt.
A positive report is not end of road. Doctors can now control AIDS with proper guidance and treatment.
Let’s talk about managing and preventing HIV spread now.
HIV Prevention and Control
Some ways to control HIV infection are:
1. Use Protection
Using condoms and dental dams for every sexual act is crucial, even for oral sex. Extra precaution with kissing too.
2. Mutual Monogamy
Only have intercourse with your committed partner after getting tested. Check in every few months.
3. Safe Injections
Avoid sharing needles and ensure sterile equipments used for injections, tattoos etc.
4. Mother-Child Safety
HIV positive mothers should take ART medication during pregnancy to protect baby. Child is also given meds after birth.
In summary, HIV is now a manageable chronic condition if precautions and discipline with medication is maintained.
Hope this article helps explain everything one needs to know about HIV AIDS! Let me know if you have any other questions.
HIV Symptoms – FAQs
Q – How soon do HIV symptoms appear after getting infected?
Flu-like symptoms emerge within 2-4 weeks for majority people after exposure but it can take few months to years for some.
Q – Do the initial symptoms of HIV always persist?
No, sometimes flu like episode may disappear in 1-2 weeks partially or fully before more grievous symptoms like cancer, pneumonia strike indicating onset of AIDS.
Q – What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?
HIV refers to getting infected by the virus. AIDS is when HIV has severely damaged someone’s immune system making them extremely sick from other diseases.
Q – What should be done if the HIV test comes back positive? **
Don’t panic with a positive result – modern ART treatment can effectively control AIDS now. Start medications under doctor’s supervision.
Q – How accurate are symptoms in detecting HIV?
Since flu-like symptoms are vague, there is 85% chance of misdiagnosis relying solely on them. Only definite HIV testing gives accurate answer.
Q – Can HIV transmission be prevented permanently?
Yes, with strict adherence to ART medications and precautions, HIV can be controlled as a chronic manageable condition throughout life now.
Q – Can HIV transmission via breastfeeding be prevented?
Yes, HIV positive mothers can formula feed babies instead of breastfeeding. She must also be on ART medication to further lower transmission risk.
Q – Does HIV spread by mosquito bites?
No, HIV spreads only by direct exchange of infected fluids between humans – not via insect bites.