AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome , is one of the diseases known as evils of the 21st century, caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

HIV infection has become a global epidemic . The World Health Organization estimates that since its discovery, it has caused 36 million deaths worldwide . In 2013, approximately 35.3 million people were living with AIDS.

There is still no cure for this virus and it is exclusively, except for very few exceptions, sexually transmitted. Exceptions can be caused by contagion by sharing contaminated syringe needles (for example between people who take drugs) or transfusions, use of non-sterile tattoo needles, if the needles have previously come into contact with the blood of a contaminated person.

Symptoms of AIDS (HIV)

HIV is a disease that can occur without symptoms for many years , and suddenly some symptoms typical of the disease may begin to appear, which depresses and completely destroys the immune system until people are left without defenses. Those who do not have symptoms or who never show symptoms are called HIV positive .

The HIV-positive individual

It is the carrier of the virus that is literally a danger to public health, since it does not show symptoms of AIDS, but carries the disease; that is to say, it has it in the blood. And if they come into contact where there is breakage of small capillaries, or share syringes to inject themselves, they can contaminate other people, many of the times, even without realizing it, and these in turn, without knowing, contaminate more people. still.

The Symptomatic individual

It is the person that you can recognize because after many years of carrying the virus and being asymptomatic, he begins to suffer from a set of characteristic symptoms of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome . Here are some symptoms of AIDS that you can observe or recognize in people with this condition:

1. General symptoms: it may be that after many years, once the virus is acquired, several symptoms begin to appear, which at first may seem like flu but last for several weeks:

2. Although a symptomatic individual may initially have symptoms, they are very similar to those of the flu or some other illnesses. The symptoms begin to worsen and to add others of greater intensity:

  • Lymph nodes.
  • Chronic diarrhea.
  • High fevers
  • Respiratory conditions and cough.
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent vomiting and poor digestion.
  • Persistent and repeated infections
  • Difficulty recovering from flu and infections.
  • Constant yeast infections.
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma ( very noticeable skin rash )

How to diagnose HIV?

If you think you may be infected with the HIV virus, the only way to know for sure is to take a diagnostic test.

The tests are voluntary and can be anonymous. The results will be confidential. You can get tested in various hospitals or consult with your GP.

The HIV test can include two types of tests: a  preliminary test  that detects HIV antibodies and a  final confirmatory test 

If the rapid test, which requires pricking the finger and drawing blood, is reactive to HIV, a second laboratory test is required to confirm that someone is HIV positive . However, if the rapid test is negative, then no further testing is required.

If HIV infection is confirmed, your doctor will discuss treatment options, as well as support groups and other services to help you cope.

What to do after a positive HIV diagnosis?

You should inform your partners, both past, current and future partners, to protect them from developing HIV  or to help them receive treatment if they have become infected.

Laws on whether partners should be informed vary from territory to territory, but most places have developed services to notify partners of people infected with HIV.

How to Prevent AIDS

HIV is a sexually transmitted virus, and in very rare cases it is also transmitted by sharing syringes contaminated with the virus. This disease, which is a disease of the 21st century, still has no cure . It destroys the defense mechanism of the human body, affecting the immune system and leaving the body devoid of its defenses; And although there are treatments aimed at controlling the symptoms, it will always be much better to prevent it so that it does not occur due to lack of information. We suggest for its prevention:

  1. Do not have contact with syringes , blades, tattoo or piercing needles that have been used by other people. If you are going to wear or use any of these decorations, make sure that the utensils are unused and in sterilization conditions.
  2. Having a regular partner facilitates a healthy sexuality, and reduces the risk of contracting the virus. Avoid promiscuity.
  3. You should always be cautious and have condoms on hand , both male and female; This should be a safe and responsible practice.
  4. Find out about preventive measures and new research in relation to AIDS.
  5. Be careful with blood transfusions , make sure donors are not HIV-positive. Some people who have asymptomatic AIDS can donate blood, although health centers must carry out tests before using these donations in transfusions, so that no contagion occurs. It is necessary that there are strict public health policies in this regard.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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