What is HIV?
HIV refers to human immunodeficiency virus, which is the virus that causes HIV infection that progressively destroys certain white blood cells and can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS.
The virus attacks the infection fighting CD4 cells (CD4 T lymphocyte) of the immune system of your body. The loss of CD4 cells makes it difficult for the body to fight off infections and certain illnesses. Without treatment, HIV can gradually destroy the immune system and HIV infection advances to AIDS from various opportunistic diseases that may occur when the body is weak.
How HIV spreads?
HIV is not contagious that easily. But there are cautions about the body’s secretions, including:
- Semen (cum) and pre-seminal fluid
- Rectal fluids
- Vaginal fluids
- Breast milk
For transmission to occur, the HIV in these fluids must get into the bloodstream of an HIV-negative person through a mucous membrane (found in the rectum, vagina, mouth, or tip of the penis); open cuts or sores; or by direct injection.
HIV Spread from person to person by;
having sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex. If you share a syringe device with others. You are also at risk for HIV.
Women with HIV can spread the infection to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breast-feeding which you can protect by receiving treatment and consulting a doctor before having children.
HIV can not be spread by
- Air or water
- Mosquitoes or other insects
- Saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of a person with HIV
- Shaking hands, Touching, Hug, Social kissing (closed-mouth)
- Sharing toilets, swimming pools, furnitures
- Sneezes and coughs
What are the symptoms of HIV?
Some people have flu-like symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks after infection (called acute HIV infection). These symptoms may last for a few days or several weeks. Possible symptoms include;
- Fever and chills
- Physical exhaustion
- Body Rash
- Night sweats
- Sore throat or Swollen lymph nodes felt as small, painless lumps in the neck, under the arms, or in the groin
- Mouth ulcers
But some people may not feel sick during acute HIV infection. These symptoms don’t mean you have HIV. Other illnesses can cause these same symptoms. Visit a health care provider if you have these symptoms and think you may have been exposed to HIV. The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. Knowing your HIV status helps you make healthy decisions to prevent getting or transmitting HIV.
Can HIV be treated?
Everyone who has HIV can be treated with daily antiretroviral therapy (ART). The medicine will prevent HIV from multiplying, which reduces the amount of HIV in the body (called the viral load). Having less viral load in the body protects the immune system and prevents HIV advancing to AIDS. ART cannot cure HIV but help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. Many infected people remain well for more than a decade.
How to reduce the risk of getting HIV
- Use condoms correctly every time you have sex.
- Limit you sexual partners.
- Do not share injection drug equipment.
- Take PrEP
HIV is no longer a scary thing. If you are infected, it does not immediately cause death because when you promptly get treatment. Your health will be strong, not easy to get sick and doesn’t lead to AIDS. It all happens, you just need to have regular blood tests every year or when you get a risk.