Without a doubt, AIDS can be considered one of the deadliest diseases in all of human history. More than two decades ago, American doctors saw the first cases of AIDS in the cities of New York and San Francisco. Today there are an approximate 42 million people who live with HIV or AIDS throughout the world. Each year, over 3 million people die due to complications from AIDS.
AIDS is a chronic condition that is almost always fatal. This condition is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV impairs the immune system so that the body cannot fight off the fungi, bacteria, and viruses that cause illness. HIV makes people vulnerable to specific cancers. Once your immune system is affected by HIV, it is also susceptible to infections that your body would tend to be able to fight off were it not for HIV, such as meningitis and pneumonia. Both the virus and the infection are known as HIV. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS is the late stages of the HIV infection.
However, today there are many drugs that can help HIV infected people remain healthy and live for almost as long as non-infected individuals.
While the spread of this virus has begun to slow in some nations, it has grown or stayed at the same rate in other countries. Experts believe that the best way to stop HIV is through education, prevention, and proper treatment.
The symptoms of HIV and AIDS evolve as the infection progresses. During the earliest stages of HIV, you may have no noticeable symptoms at all. But it is more common to come down with something a lot like the flu 2-4 weeks after infection. The signs and symptoms of HIV can include:
*Swollen lymph glands
While you may have no symptoms at all, it is still possible for you to transmit the virus to your sexual partners. After your body is infected with the virus, your immune system will be targeted by the infection. The virus will multiply in your lymph nodes and then over time will also start to erode your helper T cells (CD4 lymphocytes). These T cells are white blood cells that help to regulate your immune system as a whole.
HIV is transmitted through specific high-risk behaviors such as:
*Oral, vaginal, and anal sex without the use of condoms
*Sharing needles used for drugs and tattoos
HIV can also transmitted through contaminated blood transfusions.
HIV can stay in the body for quite awhile undetected. During this phase, the infected person may pass the virus on to many partners. Prevent HIV with these methods:
*Don't have sex
*Always use a condom
*Don't handle body fluids through which HIV can be transmitted
*Don't share needles