The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS, and people who contract this virus do not necessarily develop the disease. What HIV does is attack the immune system, causing the infected person to have weak immunity to the spread of other conditions. HIV may have no symptoms for up to ten years. However, early detection and proper treatment will lower the chances of developing AIDS. At FastlyHealwe, explain the symptoms, infection, and treatment of HIV.
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Stages of HIV
After two weeks or even three months after the infection occurs, the virus can be detected in the blood. This process is known as the window period. The next stage of the disease is asymptomatic. The patient has no symptoms and can lead an everyday life, even for ten years. After this, the person enters the early and middle symptomatic stage, where symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, herpes in the mouth, and rashes appear. Finally, we have the late stage, which is when AIDS becomes present, the immune system becomes increasingly weak, causing diseases such as pneumonia, candidiasis, and toxoplasmosis.
Symptoms of HIV
As we have explained previously, HIV can be asymptomatic and remain for years. If symptoms occur, they will depend on the stage of the virus and will manifest as follows:
Early symptomatic stage :
- Mouth ulcers
- Swollen glands
- Night sweats
- Muscle pain
- Lung problems such as pneumonia
- Breathing difficulties.
- Intestinal infections
- Swallowing problems
The proteins that makeup HIV make it easier to adhere to immune cells. When the virus destroys these cells, the immune system is weakened, favoring the appearance of diseases. There are people with a higher risk of contracting HIV:
- People who have multiple sexual partners.
- If you take intravenous drugs and share syringes.
- We were having unprotected sex.
- Babies are born to mothers with HIV who had no treatment during pregnancy.
It is necessary to be clear about the different ways in which HIV can be spread and the myths that exist around them. HIV is transmitted in three ways:
- Through sexual contact: having unprotected sex always poses a risk. In this case, it is the most common way to get HIV and includes vaginal, anal, and oral penetration.
- The most significant risk of contracting HIV through blood is sharing syringes or through piercings and tattoos. Contagion occurs when a healthy person comes into contact with an infected person’s blood. For this reason, precautions should be taken with certain wounds.
- From mother to child: it can be transmitted during pregnancy, during childbirth, or at the time of breastfeeding. That is why a mother with the human immunodeficiency virus must have the treatment during this period.
There are many myths and misinformation that has surrounded this issue for years, so we will clarify how it is NOT possible to get HIV :
- By touching objects that an infected person has touched.
- Physical contact such as hugs and kisses.
- By contact with animals.
- Sharing personal items such as towels, kitchen utensils, clothing, or food.
- Contact with sweat, saliva, feces, tears, or urine.
- From insect bites.
- For donating blood.
It is necessary to treat HIV so that it does not lead to AIDS and avoid as many other infections from viruses, fungi, or bacteria. The treatment for HIV is called antiretroviral therapy to prevent the virus from reproducing. Previously, treatment was started after the white blood cells (lymphocytes) dropped, but no treatment is recommended even if the lymphocyte count is average.
Blood tests will be essential to keep track and make sure your viral load stays low or reaches the point of being undetectable. Possible complications from HIV will decrease as the immune system recovers.
Generally, people with the human immunodeficiency virus can lead everyday lives. Although medication does not cure the infection will help keep the viral load to a minimum. If you do not take the medication regularly, the virus can become resistant to the drugs, and the treatment will stop working.
Some preventive measures that we should take into account to avoid infections are:
- Avoid illicit drugs and don’t share syringes.
- Get tested for HIV for early detection.
- If you work in the health area, use protection when treating wounds and avoid direct contact with blood.
- If you have HIV and are pregnant, consult your doctor about treatment options to avoid infecting the fetus.
- Practice safe sex, using a condom.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to HIV: symptoms, contagion, and treatment, we recommend that you enter our Immune System category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.