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What causes aids?
08 Mar 2022
What causes aids? image

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is a chronic, potentially fatal disease. HIV impairs your body’s ability to fight infection and disease by destroying your immune system. 

You don’t always have AIDS if you have HIV. People infected with the virus can acquire AIDS over years. HIV and AIDS are incurable diseases. Medications, on the other hand, can significantly reduce disease progression. In many wealthy countries, these medications have helped to cut AIDS fatalities.

Symptoms of AIDS

Even though HIV and AIDS symptoms differ depending on the stages of infection there are few commonly known symptoms for both

Primary infection (Acute HIV)

Within two to four weeks of the virus entering the body, some HIV patients suffer a flu-like disease. Primary (acute) HIV infection is a short-term sickness that can last a few weeks. The following are examples of possible indications and symptoms:

  • Fever 
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph 
  • Diarrhoea
  • Joint pain
  • Sweats at night
  • Sore throat 
  • Rash
  • Weight loss
  • Cough

Clinical latent infection

It is chronic HIV, HIV is still present in the body and white blood cells at this stage of infection. Many people, however, may not experience any symptoms or infections during this time.

If you aren’t on antiretroviral therapy (ART), this period can extend for years. Some people get a more severe form of the disease sooner than others.

Symptomatic HIV infection 

You may develop minor infections or persistent signs and symptoms as the virus continues to spread and damage your immune cells.

  • Weight loss
  • Oral yeast infection
  • Shingles
  • Pneumonia
  • Fever 

Progression to AIDS

When you get AIDS, your immune system is seriously harmed. You’ll be more susceptible to opportunistic infections and malignancies, which are diseases that would not normally cause illness in someone with a sound immune system.

Some of these illnesses may cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Sweats 
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph
  • Skin rash
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue 

How do you get AIDS in the first place?

There are several misconceptions about AIDS and people with it. It can’t be spread with touches or with the usual interaction with an infected person. Understand that HIV does not spread through :

  • Excretions
  • Sharing bathrooms or pools
  • Coughing or sneezing 
  • Eating from same utensils
  • Hugging or holding hands

You may become infected with AIDS if you 

  1. Sexual intercourse: If you have vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner whose semen, blood or vaginal secretion enter your body.
  1. Sharing needles: Sharing contaminated IV drug accessories (needles and syringes) increases your chance of contracting HIV and other infectious diseases like hepatitis.
  1. Blood transfusion: The virus can be spread through blood transfusions in some situations. Most of the hospitals and blood banks screen blood now before a transfusion so the chances are very low.
  1. During pregnancy, delivery or breast feeding: Mothers who are infected can pass the virus on to their children. HIV-positive mothers who receive treatment for the illness during pregnancy can dramatically reduce the risk to their unborn children.

If you think that you may have been infected with HIV  or are at risk of contracting the virus, consult a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosing and proper treatment can reduce the ill effects of AIDS significantly.

For more help and support, contact us on 1800 889 2559.

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