HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a potentially life-threatening condition. It damages the immune system and affects the body’s ability to fight infections. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. However, there are few medications that can help slow the progression of the disease.
Most of us always get confused when it comes to HIV and AIDS. To understand HIV and AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), it is necessary to understand the difference and meaning of the two.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus is one of the group of viruses known as Retrovirus. After getting into the body, HIV damages the immune system and destroys the body’s ability to fight infections and some cancers.
AIDS is a disease caused by HIV. It occurs when the virus damages the immune system to critical level, causing life-threatening infections. HIV-1 is a sub-type of HIV that causes HIV/AIDS.
Few common opportunistic infections to HIV/AIDS are:
This infection causes inflammation and a thick, white coating on the mucous membrane of the tongue, mouth, vagina or oesophagus.
This infection is caused by an internal parasite, found in animals, ingested through contaminated food or water.
This infection is the most common opportunistic infection linked with HIV. In fact, it is the leading of cause of death among people with AIDS.
This deadly infection occurs due to a parasite, Toxoplasma Gondii, spread by infected cats.
HIV can enter the body in several ways.
The signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS depend on different stages of HIV.
The key feature of the symptoms associated with the acute phase of HIV is that they disappear within a few weeks.
After the acute phase, the person feels normal. This asymptomatic phase often lasts for years. During this phase, the virus continues to multiply, infects and destroys the immune system. This stage can last up to 10 years.
If no treatment is initiated during the first two stages of HIV, the virus can progress to cause AIDS. AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection. It is the stage when the body begins to lose its ability to fight infections. The signs and symptoms of the advanced stage of HIV (AIDS) depend on the opportunistic infections developed during the stage. Few of them are:
There is no cure or effective vaccination for HIV. Hence, it is important to take all the measures to prevent HIV from entering into the body. Few preventive strategies are:
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