1st December is observed every year as the World Aids Day. This day is commemorated every year to raise a serious awareness of the epidemic state at which HIV infection is spreading around, how to prevent the disease and the possible treatment options.
A person does not have AIDS in the first go. The first contracts the HIV virus that messes with his health and immune system. If not treated, HIV can lead to AIDS. There have been researches and medical advancements that have discovered treatments and medication to stall the further development of HIV. If a person starts treatment at the right time, it is possible for him to stay healthy lifelong and never have AIDS.
HIV is a type of sexually transmitted disease. (Know more on how to prevent STDs).
Contracting HIV can be avoided by following some simple precautionary measures. However, once you have contracted the virus accidentally, this is how it will affect your health.
The Early Effects of HIV on Health
When a person contracts HIV infection, the first symptom of the disease is experienced after 2-6 weeks in the form of flu-like symptoms. This is known as seroconversion illness. This means that the body is naturally producing antibodies to fight against the HIV virus. At this stage, you will have symptoms like
- Skin rash that does not itch
- Swollen glands in the armpits, groin, and throat.
- A sore throat
- Joint and muscle pain
- Ulcers in the genitals and the mouth
These symptoms last for a maximum of 2 weeks after which it dies down and the person leads a normal life for several years. But remember that the HIV virus is still active within the body. It silently continues to reproduce and multiply affecting the healthy cells. This gradually damages the immune system in the process and the individual is unable to fight infection in the next relapse.
How HIV Affects the Immune System
These infectious virus aims at weakening the immune system by latching itself to the T cells also, known as CD4 cells. These cells are a type of white blood cells that form an important part of the immune system. Once it attacks these cells, the HIV starts multiplying and damaging the WBCs before infecting further cells.
If you have contracted HIV infection, going for regular tests and checkups should form an imperative part of your treatment routine. Also if you are not receiving treatment, you are exposing your internal system to more infections and you’ll likely transfer the virus to another person. Besides, you might also develop AIDS as your immune system practically has stopped functioning and a trivial infection can also pose to be life-threatening.
Opportunistic Infections can Wreak Havoc on Your Health
An HIV infected individual can become very sick from infections caused by otherwise harmless bacteria, virus, and fungi. These infections attack the weak immune system and can be potentially life-threatening to them. Tuberculosis and Hepatitis are the most common co-infections along with HIV.
If you notice any of the symptoms, do visit a doctor at once and start treatment right away. Though HIV is not curable the medications can significantly reduce the number of virus in the body to the extent that the virus can no longer affect the immune system.
Go for regular health screenings and blood tests. KNOW YOUR STATUS. Stay safe and healthy!
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