HIV Infection




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HIV  INFECTION- HIV is  a highly infectious
virus.It is a condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The
condition gradually destroys the immune system, which makes it harder for the
body to fight infections.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be spread by
the following:

Through sexual contact — including oral, vaginal, and anal sex

Through blood — through blood transfusions, accidental needlesticks, or needle
sharing

From mother to child — a pregnant woman can transmit the virus to her fetus
through their shared blood circulation, or a nursing mother can pass it to her
baby in her breast milk

People who become infected with HIV may have no symptoms for up to 10 years, but
they can still pass the infection to others. After being exposed to the virus,
it can take up to 3 months for the HIV ELISA blood test to change from HIV
negative to HIV positive.

HIV has spread throughout the U.S. The disease is more common in urban areas,
especially in inner cities.

See also: AIDS for a more complete description of how HIV is spread.
Symptoms

Symptoms related to HIV are usually due to a different infection in the body.
Some symptoms related to HIV infection include:

Diarrhea

Fatigue

Fever

Frequent vaginal yeast infections

Headache

Mouth sores, including yeast infection (thrush)

Muscle stiffness or aching

Rashes of different types, including seborrheic dermatitis

Sore throat

Swollen lymph glands

Note: Many people have no symptoms when they are diagnosed with HIV.
Signs and tests

The HIV ELISA and HIV Western blot tests detect antibodies to the HIV virus in
the blood. Both tests must be positive to confirm an HIV infection. Having these
antibodies means you are infected with HIV.

If the test is negative (no antibodies found) and you have risk factors for HIV
infection, you should be retested in 3 months.

If the HIV ELISA and HIV Western blot tests are positive, other blood tests can
be done to determine how much HIV is in your bloodstream.

A complete blood count (CBC) and white blood cell differential may also show
abnormalities.

A lower-than-normal CD4 cell count may be a sign that the virus is damaging your
immune system.
Treatment

Doctors often recommend drug therapy for patients who are committed to taking
all their medications and have a CD4 count below 500 cells/mm3 (indicating their
immune system is suppressed). Some people, including pregnant women and people
with kidney or neurological problems related to HIV, may need treatment
regardless of their CD4 count.

It is extremely important for people with HIV to take all doses of their
medications, otherwise the virus may become resistant to the drugs. Therapy
always involves a combination of antiviral drugs. Pregnant women with HIV
infection are treated to reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to their babies.

People with HIV infection need to become educated about the disease and
treatment so that they can be active participants in making decisions with their
health care provider.

( Courtesy to NIH.gov- Published under public utility
information act )

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