Friday, October 3, 2014
HIV and AIDS and Possible Treatments
Human immunodeficiency virus causes AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Once a patient gets infected with HIV, they may not show symptoms for a while, however, in many cases, within one to four weeks after the exposure of HIV, they may have symptoms that bear semblance with those of influenza: fever, swollen lymph nodes, aching throat, headache, probably nausea and vomiting. After one or two weeks, these symptoms cease. After that, a second phase follows: clinical latency. When HIV is not diagnosed and treated, this latent period can last from three years to more than twenty years. After a while, some patients may have minor symptoms: fevers, weight loss, and ache in their muscles. Without proper treatment, about half of the HIV-infected persons develop AIDS in 9 to 11 years. When one is infected with AIDS, their system cannot fight any infection coming from the outer world: bacteria, viruses, and fungi, even conditions that are otherwise harmless.
It is important to get tested for HIV and diagnose the virus, the sooner the better. HIV antibody tests are in most cases accurate.
Since AIDS is incurable, people assume that those who already live with HIV or AIDS cannot get any treatment to get better. It is not true: early diagnosis means a whole lot of help, proper medication can improve the quality of the patients’ lives and they can live several years longer, so it can be considered a survivable chronic disease. Antiretroviral treatment can help keep the symptoms at bay for a long time. However, such treatments have side-effects. They are also expensive.
When untreated, an HIV-infected person can survive for about 9 to 11 years.
How You Cannot Get Infected
Saliva and tears do not contain HIV. An HIV-infected person cannot spread the disease with skin-to-skin contact: coughing, sneezing, shaking hands, holding hands, kissing cheeks, using the same glasses or dishes do not mean any threat to others if there are no wounds on their skin. Even French kissing is considered a low-risk activity, provided that neither of the kissing parties has open wounds in their oral cavity.
How You Can Get Infected
While having oral sex without a condom is safer than vaginal or anal sex, it is not completely risk-free. One can have small wounds in their mouth and it means exposure to risk. Yes, one can be infected with HIV when having unprotected oral sex.
HIV can be spread through unprotected sex, blood transfusion, hypodermic needles. A mother can infect her child while childbearing or breastfeeding.
HIV virus is able to survive outside of an organism, for, at least, a couple of minutes, often for a couple of hours. In a wet, damp environment – for example, in syringes and needles – they can last several weeks.