HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus
- Spreads by sexual contact
- Rare: Fewer than 200,000 US cases per year
- Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured
- Requires a medical diagnosis
- Lab tests or imaging always required
- Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
It is important to understand the process of HIV transmission to protect yourself and others around you. To survive, this virus depends on human blood. This means it will not survive outside the body. The virus enters the body through the mucous membrane. This can be through vaginal sex, anal sex, and in rare cases, oral sex. It can also get inside the body directly through the blood stream especially during sharing of drug injection tools. The virus affects the immune system and leaves the body too weak to fight infections. It will exist in the blood, semen, vaginal fluids, anal secretion, and in breast milk.
Testing is one of the most important steps when it comes to fighting HIV transmission. Knowing your status will give you a better chance of protecting yourself if you are negative and living a better life if you are positive. If the results are positive, you should start treatment immediately and make sure you follow the prescriptions strictly. There are different testing options including self test kits that you can use at home.
There is no cure for HIV yet. This does not mean that having the virus is a death sentence. There are modern treatment approaches that give people living with HIV a chance to live long healthy lives. Antiretroviral therapy is the best treatment to curb the infection and reduce the amount of the virus in the body. When the viral load is low and undetectable, the risk of transmission is very low.
There is a lot of fake news out there talking about a cure for HIV. Well, there is still no viable cure. What you can get are comprehensive treatments that will reduce the virus amount in the body and reduce chances of developing AIDS. There are many scientists working on cures and vaccines with most of them working on sterilizing or functional cures. The vaccines are quite promising though do not provide complete protection. It is better to focus on the treatment as we wait for the cure.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is an advanced stage in the HIV infection. AIDS is not a disease; it is a collection of infections and conditions that result from a weak immune system caused by the virus. Once the virus gets in the body, it will start fighting CD4 cells and this is what results in AIDS. When HIV is treated properly, it will not advance to AIDS.
The topic of HIV and AIDS is a complex one. Though awareness efforts are around the word, there are myths that half truths that get to people faster than facts. This is why we have tried to answer some of the common questions revolving around this topic.
Living With HIV
Having HIV is not as horrible as the society drives people to believe. It is important to take care of yourself but if you get the virus, it is not the end of life. It is tough to deal with the diagnosis but treatment can give you a long healthy life. There are many people living happy lives through treatment and you can learn the important aspects of living with HIV.