If you have followed the health world on information regarding its troubles and solutions, you must have heard of the largest pandemics in the world- The Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV.
Researchers traced the history of HIV back to the days of bushmeat hunting and trading. They discovered that it came from a type of chimpanzee living in Central Africa. Studies have it that, back in the late 1800s when humans went hunting for games and lived on bushmeat, the SIV was must have been passed on to the humans who came in contact with the blood from this species of chimpanzees. The commonest form of it was found in chimpanzees sometime before 1931 and before long human beings got infected. These chimpanzees were discovered to be carriers of the virus but theirs was called Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV).
According to health reports, the earliest case of HIV was found in the blood sample of a man from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the year 1968, North America’s earliest case was a 16-year-old boy named Robert Rayford who had never undergone blood transfusion or traveled away from the Midwest where he lived. This shows the possibility that HIV and AIDS have been present in the United States years before 1966. www.bosterbio.com gives an insight into some things to know about HIV but let’s take a look at all you must know about the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and its level of urgency.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HIV
HIV is a virus that attacks and weakens your body’s immune system once it starts growing in your body. The virus leaves you vulnerable and defenseless against germs and common diseases. It can lead to AIDS (a deadlier stage of the infection) if not managed properly.
Before AIDS was discovered, this disease caused by the virus always accompanied other immunodeficiency conditions such as Kaposi sarcoma (KS) and Pneumocystic jirovecii pneumonia (PCP). One year after scientific research found out about AIDS, HIV was discovered.
An HIV patient is more vulnerable to diseases that do not get other people sick. But when it graduates to AIDS, the patient easily catches serious infections or other terminal diseases like cancer.
What are the symptoms of HIV?
If you are not quite keen on visiting the hospital for tests when you are ill, if you happen to get infected, you might think you have flu when the symptoms surface. Yes, its symptoms are flu-like and can be noticed 2 to 4 weeks after an acute HIV infection. These symptoms may last only a few days or in certain cases, several weeks. These symptoms include;
- Mouth Ulcers
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes and
Although, these are possible symptoms having them doesn’t necessarily mean you have HIV. Other illnesses can cause you to have these symptoms. To be sure, all you need to do is visit your health care provider for an HIV test.
What are the stages of HIV?
When it is not treated, it progresses into worse stages. Although, in today’s world where advanced medical treatments are available, HIV progression to the other stages is rarely seen.
There are three stages of HIV infection and they include;
Stage 1: Acute HIV Infection
This is the earliest stage of HIV infection and you might experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, rash, chills, etc. You may start experiencing these symptoms 2-4 weeks after you are infected. But you might be asymptomatic and therefore not show any signs to know you have the infection.
Stage 2: Chronic HIV Infection
This is also an asymptomatic stage. During this stage, the HIV infection continues to spread and damage your immune system gradually. But do not be deceived as it isn’t gone. It is at this stage that you can easily spread it to other people.
Stage 3: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
This is the most severe stage of HIV infection. At this stage, your immune system has been severely damaged and you now have AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). You can experience symptoms such as chills, weight loss, swollen lymph nodes, weakness, fever, and sweats.
Who is at Risk?
HIV can be gotten by anyone. You are at a higher risk if you:
- Has sex with an infected person
- Share needles or any sharp objects with an infected person
- Have a lot of sexual partners
- Have anal sex with an infected person
- Have sex with an infected person without using a condom
How can HIV be transmitted?
HIV can be transmitted
- From an infected nursing mother to her baby during breastfeeding
- From an infected pregnant woman to her fetus
- Transfusion of infected blood
- Transplant of organs from an infected person
Diagnosis of HIV
It can be diagnosed using three different tests.
- Antibody Test: This test looks for the antibodies proteins your body manufactures to fight the virus. This is a rapid test as its result is gotten before or after 30 minutes
- Antigen/Antibody Test: This is known to be the recommended test for detecting HIV. This test checks for the antibodies fighting the virus and parts of the virus known as the antigens. The bdnf elisa kit is one of the kits known to detect the antibody as well as the antigen of the virus.
- Nucleic Acid Test: Your blood which is sent to the lab is tested for traces of this disease. The result of this test takes a few days to be out.
How can HIV be treated?
Due to scientific advancements, we have today antiretroviral therapy (ART) that helps slow down or stop the progress of the virus. ART helps to reduce the viral load in your system thereby rendering the virus undetectable with any HIV test. Once your viral load is low, your health improves and you can live a normal life.
Also, some monoclonal antibody production companies have produced antibodies for replacement purposes where your immune system longer has enough antibodies to fight the virus.
Testing positive for HIV is not a death sentence. Al you need is good health care advice and the use of ARTs and you can live your best life.