What is HIV?

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. It damages your immune system, HIV is spread during sex, but condoms can help protect you.

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It’s a virus that breaks down certain cells in your immune system (your body’s defense against diseases that helps you stay healthy). When HIV damages your immune system, it’s easier to get really sick and even die after a long time from infections that your body could normally fight off.

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is one of the world’s most serious public health challenges. But there a global commitment to stopping new HIV infections and ensuring that everyone living with HIV has access to HIV treatment.

According to UNAIDS : There were approximately 36.9 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS in 2017. Of these, 1.8 million were children (<15 years old). An estimated 1.8 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2017 – about 5,000 new infections per day.

Once you have HIV, the virus stays in your body for life. There’s no cure for HIV, but medicines can help you stay healthy. HIV medicine lowers or even stops your chances of spreading the virus to other people. Studies show that using HIV treatment as directed can lower the amount of HIV in your blood so much that it might not even show up on a test — when this happens, you can’t transmit HIV through sex.

Treatment is really important (that’s why getting tested is so important). Without treatment, HIV can lead to AIDS. But with medicine, people with HIV can live long, healthy lives and stop the spread of HIV to others.

Difference between HIV and AIDS?

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV and AIDS are not the same thing. And people with HIV do not always have AIDS.

HIV is the virus that’s passed from person to person. After some time, HIV destroys an important kind of the cell in your immune system (called CD4 cells or T cells) that helps protect you from infections. When you don’t have enough of these CD4 cells, your body can’t fight off infections the way it normally can.

AIDS is the disease caused by the damage that HIV does to your immune system. You have AIDS when you get dangerous infections or have a super low number of CD4 cells. AIDS is the final stage of HIV, and it leads to death over time.

Without treatment, it usually takes about 9-10 years for someone with HIV to develop AIDS. Treatment slows down the damage the virus causes and can help people stay healthy.

Vectors of HIV?

HIV is carried in semen (cum), vaginal fluids, anal mucus, blood, and breast milk. The virus gets in your body through cuts or sores in your skin, and through mucous membranes (like the inside of the vagina, rectum, and opening of the penis). You can get HIV from:

  1. having vaginal or anal sex. 
  2.  sharing needles or syringes for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.
  3. getting stuck with a needle that has HIV-infected blood on it. 
  4. getting HIV-infected blood, semen (cum), or vaginal fluids into open cuts or sores on your body. 

Symptoms of HIV

The first 2-4 weeks after being infected with HIV, you may feel feverish, achy, and sick. These flu-like symptoms are your body’s first reaction to the HIV infection. During this time, there’s a lot of the virus in your system, so it’s really easy to spread HIV to other people.

The signs of AIDS include:

  1. Thrush (a thick, white coating on your tongue or mouth)
  2. Getting bad infections a lot
  3. Headaches
  4. Losing lots of weight quickly. 
  5. Deep and dry cough
  6. Bleeding from the mouth, nose, anus, or vagina
  7. Purplish spot on your skin or inside your mouth
  8. Feel really tired, dizzy, and lighthead
  9. Sore throat
  10. Have diarrhea, fevers, or night sweats for a long time
  11. Swollen of firm glands in your throat, armpit, or groin. 
  12. Skin rashes. 
  13. Not able to feel anything in your hands or feet, losing control of your muscles and reflexes, not being able to move, and losing strength in your muscles. 


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