What is HIV/AIDS?

What is HIV/AidsHIV is the acronym which stands for Human immunodeficiency virus, which is the cause of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). HIV is a virus that attacks CD4 cells and destroys them. CD4 cells are a white blood cell type that defend and protect against infections. Although HIV and AIDS are very closely related to one another, having HIV does not automatically mean that one will also have AIDS. If a person with HIV has a CD4 count that is lower than 200 they are then typically classified as having AIDS. Once a person with HIV contracts certain diseases, cancers, or illnesses they can also be classified as having AIDS as well.

What causes HIV and AIDS?

HIV is contracted when infected bodily fluids come into contact with the bloodstream. AIDS is caused by HIV. HIV can enter the body through the sex organs, the anus, the blood linings of the mouth, as well as any broken skin and it can be spread by both sexes. The most common ways people contract HIV are having unprotected sexual relations with someone infected with the virus, and sharing a drug needle (heroin for instance).

What are the symptoms of HIV and AIDS?

People infected with HIV do not always show signs of sickness or develop any symptoms after contracting the virus. Initial flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, sluggishness, and neck lymph gland enlargement  sometimes appear days or weeks after being exposed to HIV. However, these various symptoms typically dissipate in weeks time. A person infected with HIV might not notice any symptoms for years at a time, during this time however the virus multiplies and destroys the cells in the immune system. When the immune system is weakened the several symptoms are common; fevers, sweats, yeast infections, skin rashes, flaky skin, loss of weight, short-term memory loss, and herpes infections.

AIDS is the most advanced form of HIV. People with less than 200 CD4 cells in one microliter of blood are considered to have the infection. AIDS causes infections caused by different viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other various organisms. In a person infected with AIDS it is very common to see almost every single organ system effected by an infection or disease. Some of the general symptoms of AIDS are persistent coughs, seizures, nausea, vomiting, loss of vision, coma, severe headaches, extreme weight loss and fatigue, and various mental effects as well.

What are the treatments of HIV and AIDS?

If someone who has contracted HIV does not receive treatment, it is certain that he or she will also contract AIDS. Although there is no cure in existence for AIDS and HIV, numerous drugs can be used together to combat the virus. There are certain medications one might receive if they have AIDS. These medications are used to fight and/or prevent any complications that the virus may potentially cause. Keeping the immune system of someone with HIV or AIDS as healthy as possible is the best treatment for the illness, and doing this requires combination treatments of different medications.

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