HIV is the acronym used for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The virus gradually destroys the ability of the immune system to fight against diseases or infections. The later and more advanced stage of HIV infection is known as acquired immunodeficiency disorder, or AIDS. A group of symptoms start to appear as the immune system gets very weak due to this condition. It takes around 8–10 years for an HIV infection to reach the stage of AIDS. AIDS is a potentially life-threatening disease. HIV infection is a disease that can be spread through body fluids.
Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
The common symptoms of HIV and AIDS are:
- Recurring Fever
- Muscle aches and pain
- Night sweats
- Persistent Fatigue or tiredness
- Unusual lesions in the mouth or on the tongue
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Rashes or bumps
- Mouth ulcers
- Sore throat and cough
- Weight loss
- Chronic diarrhea
Causes of HIV/AIDS
Many factors increase the risk of HIV/AIDS, including:
- Having unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse
- Having multiple sex partners
- Use of Illicit injection or drugs
- Having sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis
- Unsafe blood transfusion or sharing of contaminated needles, syringes, or other equipment
- Medical procedures involving unsterile cutting or piercing
- Unsafe tissue or organ transplantation
- Transmission from an infected mother to an infant through pregnancy or birth
Diagnosis of HIV/AIDS
At HCG Manavata Cancer Center, our specialists strive to provide the best HIV/AIDS diagnosis and treatment in Nashik. The doctor may perform the following tests for the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS:
- Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test: ELISA test is sensitive to chronic HIV infection along with AIDS and helps in its diagnosis.
- Western Blot: This test is used to confirm positive HIV antibodies in the sample of blood taken.
- Saliva test: A sample of saliva is collected from the side of the cheeks on a cotton pad, which is submitted, to the laboratory for testing. The positive results confirm the HIV/AIDs infection.
- Viral load test: It detects early HIV infection and measures the amount of HIV in the blood.
- HIV test: This test detects the human immunodeficiency virus in the saliva, serum, or urine.
- Nucleic acid test (NAT): NAT test detects HIV in the blood sample from the vein.
- Antigen/Antibodies test: This test detects the antigen produced by the virus and antibodies produced by the body’s immune system when exposed to the virus.
Treatment for HIV and AIDS
HCG Manavata is one of the best HIV/AIDS treatment hospitals in Nashik, Maharashtra, with advanced technology and a strong team of specialists. Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for HIV/AIDS. Once the patients are infected, the virus will remain in their bodies. However, the doctor uses a combination of medicines to control the virus and its progression and to support active life among patients with HIV. The most commonly used therapy for the management of AIDS is ART therapy.
Antiretroviral Therapy (ART): ART therapy is the most effective way to control HIV/AIDS. ART therapy is recommended for everyone infected with HIV. It works by preventing HIV/AIDS from destroying the CD4 cells and by reducing the risk of transmitting the virus to others by keeping it under control. The antiretroviral medicines used in the treatment and management of HIV/AIDS are divided into seven broad categories, which are:
- Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors: These work by blocking or stopping the virus from making copies of itself. It is the first class of ART approved by the FDA.
- Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTIs): NNRTIs turn off a protein needed by HIV to make copies of themselves.
- Integrase inhibitors (IIs): They disable the protein called integrase that HIV uses to insert its genetic material into the CD4 T cells.
- Protease inhibitors: They inactivate the protein called HIV protease that HIV needs to make copies of itself.
- Fusion inhibitors: They are also called entry inhibitors and block the entry of HIV into the CD4 T cells.
- Attachment inhibitors: These medications prevent HIV from binding to and entering CD4 cells.
- CCR5 antagonist: CCR5 antagonists work by blocking CCR5 receptors on the surface of certain immune cells, blocking the entry of HIV into the cells.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I prevent AIDS/HIV?
You can prevent HIV/AIDs by getting an HIV vaccine, avoiding unsafe sex practices, having sex with multiple partners, getting tattooed, or having a healthy diet and exercising daily.
2. Is HIV/AIDS curable?
Currently, there is no permanent cure for AIDS/HIV. Once infected with the Human Immunodeficiency virus, it will remain in the body forever. However, you can improve your life expectancy and quality of life by using ART therapy.
3. Is HIV infection and AIDS the same thing?
No, HIV and AIDS are two different things. HIV is the virus infection that breaks down the immune system, whereas AIDS is the advanced stage of the infection characterized by the loss of CD4 cells.
4. Can HIV be spread orally?
You can get HIV through oral sex. However, the chance of getting it through oral sex is very low.
5. Is it possible to get HIV/AIDS by touching or shaking hands?
No, you cannot get HIV or AIDS through shaking hands or touching. It is only spread through the transmission of body fluids such as saliva, semen, or blood.