by Sam Malone

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This virus, when transmitted into the human body, causes HIV infection, which is known to destroy the complete immune system of the person. This makes the body susceptible to illness and thus it gets very difficult to fight off the infection. Eventually, the last stage of HIV infection is AIDS.

The HIV can spread in three ways:

  • Contaminated Blood transfer
  • Intimate sexual relations
  • Use of syringes and needles that are contaminated.

The HIV could also spread to the baby from an infected pregnant woman.

People with HIV infection show no symptoms even up to 10 years of being infected; however, they can pass the virus on to others during this period.

Some of the symptoms of HIV infections are:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Mouth sores
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Various types of rashes
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph glands

There have also been infected cases in the past that have shown no symptoms at all.

The HIV Western blot tests and HIV ELISA detect antibodies in the blood. These antibodies work against the virus. If there are antibodies present in the blood stream, it indicates that you are body has the HIV virus within it. In the event of the test being negative, the presence of the antibodies is also negated and it would mean that you are not infected with HIV. However, you will have to take the test once again in three months. If the HIV western blot tests and HIV ELISA then show positive, it means that there are antibodies present in your blood stream. At this point, further tests must be done to determine the level of HIV present in the bloodstream.

For the treatment of HIV infection, doctors recommend drug therapy. However this is for patients who have been taking their medications regularly and have a CD4 count of below 500 cells/mL. Some people, such as pregnant women and people with kidney problems caused by HIV may need to go through treatment regardless of their CD4 count.

It is very important that people with HIV take all doses of their medications. If they don’t, the virus will become resistant to the drugs. There are various types of anti-viral drugs used in therapy. In infected pregnant women, treatment is done to reduce the chances of transmitting the virus to the baby.

People who are infected with HIV virus must first educate themselves about the disease so that they can play an active part in helping their doctors in treating the disease.

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