Yes, you, you and you, nobody loves to hear this term, but we can say, comfortably, that it's the most dreaded disease out there, since its Discovery. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and the advanced form, Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome–is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body's ability to fight infection and disease. HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). But can also be spread by blood contact, and from explicit injection/ sharing needle/drug use. It can also be spread from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Without medication, it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS.

This virus has no cure but there are probable symptoms that can occur in the first few weeks after a person contacts it. They may include;

1. Fever

2. Headache

3. Muscle aches and joint pain

4. Rash

5. Sore throat and painful mouth sores

6. Swollen lymph glands, mainly on the neck

7. Diarrhea

8. Weight loss

9. Cough

10. Night sweats

At this point, the symptoms might be unnoticeable and also spread faster because of their presence in the bloodstream. There are cycles by which this virus completes:

1. Clinically latent phase: In this stage of infection, HIV is still present in the body and in white blood cells. However, many people may not have any symptoms or infections during this time.

2. Symptomatic Stage: At this point, the body becomes unable to ward off diseases; the immune system becomes weak, making some indications such as: Fever Fatigue, Swollen lymph nodes — often one of the first signs of HIV infection, Diarrhea, Weight loss

3. Progression to AIDS: Access to antiretroviral treatments has greatly decreased deaths from AIDS worldwide, even in resource-poor countries. Thanks to these life-saving treatments, Most people today don't develop AIDS. Untreated, HIV typically turns into AIDS in about 5-10years.

Causes of AIDS

1.  Sexual contact with infected persons

2. Use of illicit sharps(Needles) & other paraphernalia

3. From Blood transfusions

4. Mother to Child transmission during child birth

Risk Factors:

1. Having Unprotected sex

2. Contacting an STI

3. Using illicit drugs

Complications include:

1.  Wasting Syndrome

2., Neurological Complications

3. Kidney disease

4. Liver disease

5. Death


1.  Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). This is the combination of oral drugs, emtricitabine plus tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Truvada) and emtricitabine plus tenofovir alafenamide fumarate (Descovy) can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV infection in people at very high risk.

2. Use treatment as prevention (TasP). If you're living with HIV, taking HIV medication can keep your partner from becoming infected with the virus, if you make sure your viral load stays undetectable.

3. Use post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) if you've been exposed through sex, needles or in the workplace, contact your health care provider or go to the emergency department.

4. Use a new condom every time you have sex. Use a new condom every time you have anal or vaginal sex. Women can use a female condom. If using a lubricant, make sure it's water-based.

5. Be faithful to your partners, and in case of sex with any other person, inform them of your exposure, so they can get tested too.

6. During pregnancy, get adequate care. So as to protect the baby, till safe delivery and afterward.

Take away: There’s no cure for AIDS currently. However, treatment can increase a person’s CD4 count to the point where they’re considered to no longer have AIDS. (This point is a count of 200 or higher.)

If you suspect that you have been exposed, visit a nearby healthcare center, to get tested.

Adaora Chinedu

Adaora Chinedu is a Writer, Registered Nurse. She finds value in Volunteering for jobs that cater to health and well-being.

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