HIV AIDS Cause, HIV Symptoms, HIV Treatment
HIV is CAUSED by a virus called the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
This virus is spread from person to person through blood exchange of any type from an infected person to a non-infected person. This can be from sex, blood transfusion, and shared needles in drug use. It is not spread by mosquitoes or touching.
There is no cure!
It is not the HIV virus which actually does the killing. What it does is weaken your immune system - the cells which fight invading infections - a little bit everyday until you are no longer to put up resistance to even the simplest infection. At this point the infection is called AIDS which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Full blown AIDS happens about 8 to 10 years after getting the HIV virus. At this point bacteria and fungi around take advantage of your weakness and attack you. When your immune system is exhausted you quickly become overwhelmed.
HIV acts like a bully holding you down while other infections deliver the blows.
Infection with HIV is diagnosed by a blood
test which measures antibodies in blood against the virus. AIDS
is also diagnosed by a blood test, but by measuring the level of your
immune cells called CD4+ Tcells; when they fall to less than 200 this
Recap: for the first 8 to 10 years of an HIV infection, you feel well. It is after this period that your immune system becomes so weakened that you begin to suffer constant miserable infections from other viruses, bacteria, and fungi. From this point to death is called AIDS.
1 month after picking up HIV, flu-like symptoms develop temporarily such as:
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Lymph nodes you can feel as marbles under your skin.
Then it dissappears within a few weeks and for the next 8 years there are no obvious symptoms. You feel well and do not realize you are infected until the SPURs begin - severe, persistent, unusual, recurrent infections.
- Weight loss
- Loss of Appetite
- Night Sweats
- Unusual and severe infections such as thrush of the mouth, Kaposi's skin cancer - purple skin plaques, pneumonias, skin infections, diarrhea.
- Recurrence of these infections despite treatment.
Eventually a victim's white blood cell count winds down so low that they are unable to fight the simplest of infections and they suffer bad infections from bugs you normally would dismiss as harmless.
By far the most common way to get HIV AIDS is through unprotected sex with persons you do not know whether they have HIV or not. So there's really only two ways to prevent getting HIV - wearing condoms during all sex, or only having sex with someone you know does not have HIV. If in doubt, wear a condom. This device prevents blood transfer from you, and to you, and also protects against other sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). Before removing condoms both of you should have STD testing including HIV. It's uncomfortable to ask a partner to seek testing but helps if you offer to get tested at the same time.
Once you do have HIV AIDS there's no turning back. From that point on the best we can do is try to slow down the virus and prolong your life through antiviral drugs such as AZT (zidovudine) and by treating other infections that hitch a ride with antibiotics or antifungals.But there is hope. Doctors have been improving survival times with combination drug cocktails and scientists are working around the clock to find a cure.