What is HIV?

HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the type of virus that targets and change the immune system of your body, thereby enhancing the impact and risk of developing other diseases and infections. The untreated HIV may progress gradually and become an advanced disease referred to as AIDS. The virus attacks the immune cells known as CD4 cells which are a kind of T cell. This white blood cell actually moves across your body to detect the faults and anomalies present in cells and other infections. When the person has HIV it targets and permeates the T Cells and this minimizes the ability of your body to fight against infections and diseases. Advancement in treatment means people with HIV have good access to healthcare which prevents HIV from progressing and converting into AIDS.

What are the Symptoms of HIV?

The symptoms of HIV usually vary depending upon the stage of infection.

Acute HIV Symptoms:

  • Flu-like illness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain and joint aches
  • Rashes
  • Sore throat and painful mouth sores

Chronic HIV Symptoms:

  • Persistent swelling in lymph nodes

Symptomatic HIV Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Shingles
  • Oral yeast infection

What are the Causes of HIV?

HIV is mainly caused by a virus which destroys the CD4 T Cells of white blood cells in the body. It usually spread via sexual contacts, blood transfusion and also from mother to baby during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and childbirth. A person can have HIV for several years before it converts into AIDS. The condition is usually diagnosed when the CD4 T cell count is below 200 or when the person is having AIDS-Defining complications.

What are the Treatments for HIV?

There is no specific treatment plan or medications available to treat HIV, but there are medications available which can control the symptoms and the virus from progressing. The most effective treatment option is antiretroviral therapy. It comprises of a variety of drugs that block the virus and this therapy is prescribed to all regardless of their CD4 Cell count. Some of the drugs which are used as Anti-HIV drugs for treatment include:

  • Nucleoside or Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Integrase Inhibitors
  • Entry or Fusion Inhibitors
  • Protease Inhibitors

Everyone with HIV must take the antiviral medications, regardless of their CD4 T cell count in the body.

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