HIV facts

April 8, 2012 | In: Medical facts

What is HIV?

I’m sure you all heard about HIV. Well, the HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, in other words, the body’s defense against diseases.  The latest research suggests that between 70 and 90 per cent of people may experience symptoms of infection a few days after having been infected.  Three symptoms occurring together: fever, rash and a severe sore throat should always be considered a potential indicator of HIV infection.  These symptoms usually disappear within two or three weeks.  Some people may not experience these early symptoms.  But without effective treatment, the immune system will become very weak and no longer be able to fight off illnesses.

Many people think that HIV is the same thing as AIDS. This is not true. When someone is described as living with HIV, they have the HIV virus in their body. A person is considered to have developed AIDS when the immune system is so weak it can fight off a range of diseases with which it would normally cope.

The most important question, when we’re talking about HIV or AIDS is: Is there a cure for it? Sadly no, but treatment can keep the virus under control and the immune system healthy.  People on HIV treatment can live a healthy, active life, although they may experience side effects from the treatment.  If HIV is diagnosed late, treatment may be less effective in preventing AIDS.

Ok, then how does it transmit?

HIV can be passed on through infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk. The most common ways HIV is passed on are:

  • Sex without a condom with someone living with HIV;
  • Sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment;
  • From an HIV-positive mother (to her child) during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

HIV kills almost 2 million people every year, so please try not to forget about the recommendations.

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