Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 27, 2022, 18:53

HIV is short for the human immunodeficiency virus. It attacks the body's immune system, making it hard for your body to fight off infections and certain types of cancers. When a person is infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV], his or her immune system is damaged and cannot fight off other infections. This causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome ( AIDS ).

There is no cure for Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV], but there are some new treatments that can significantly reduce the chances of getting this disease.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] Symptoms and Diagnosis

Some of the prominent Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] symptoms include fatigue, fever, swollen lymph glands in the armpits and groin, dry cough, diarrhoea, vomiting, dark-coloured urine, and bleeding from gums or noses. Sometimes people might also get headaches with a sore throat.

The only way to know if someone has Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] is by taking a blood test that tests for antibodies to the virus in your body.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] is diagnosed by a blood test called an Elisa test to measure the presence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] antibodies in the blood. Sometimes it can take up to six months before enough antibodies are present to be detected, so it is important to retest.

Treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV]

There is currently no cure for AIDS, and there is no vaccine. Still, people with this disease can live full and relatively healthy lives if they are able to keep the virus under control with drugs called antiretroviral therapy or ART. When taken regularly, these drugs help you stay healthy and greatly reduce the possibility of infecting someone else.

Some other medicines are also available, like protease inhibitors, which can help slow the progression of the disease.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] Prognosis

A person with Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] is expected to have a normal life span. There is considerable debate over the actual life expectancy for people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV], but it certainly is more than ten years now. Currently, AIDS patients who start antiretroviral therapy in their early stages of the disease live longer than those who start this treatment when they are very ill.

Studies have shown that if people who are Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] positive take antiviral drugs daily and their viral load stays undetectable, they cannot pass on the virus to others. There is only a 0-1% chance of passing the virus on in any given year if your viral load remains undetectable through medication. This is called "treatment as prevention".

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It is a major step toward ending the AIDS epidemic by preventing new infections.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] is a disease that can be managed with careful monitoring and proper care. Many people have lived for many years now without even showing any disease symptoms. The future for Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV]/AIDS treatment is also optimistic, as several new drugs are in the final stages of clinical trials. These developments may mean that Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV]-infected people will be able to live longer and healthier lives than ever before.

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FAQs on Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV]

Q1. Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] is a virus that attacks the immune system. What does the immune system do?

The immune system protects body tissues from infection by bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances that cause Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV]. It is composed of lymphocytes and other cells that play a critical role in fighting disease.

Q2. What are antibodies? Why are they important in treating Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV]/AIDS?

Antibodies are produced by the immune system to help identify and destroy germs that invade the body and cause Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV]. They are very specific antibodies that target a particular virus or bacteria and neutralize its harmful effects on the body.

Q3. How is Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] transmitted?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] is usually spread by contact with infected blood or other body fluids.

Q4. What are the signs and symptoms of Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] infection?

The first symptoms of Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] can be flu-like sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph glands in the armpits and groin. A person infected for a long time will also have chronic diarrhoea, night sweats, weight loss, and swollen abdomen due to AIDS wasting syndrome.