HIV infection and AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) are not interchangeable terms. A person with AIDS is an HIV carrier, but a person with HIV infection does not always have AIDS. However, they are connected, so we can’t start talking about AIDS without giving a little information about HIV.
What is the HIV infection?
HIV is a virus that attacks people’s immune system. A virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases.
It is generally spread through sexual contacts or infected blood, but also things like sharing needles/syringes increase the danger. Luckily, you can’t get infected through ordinary contacts such as kissing, hugging, talking, even masturbation – you can share everyday life with the HIV – positive partner.
How to cure it?
There is no cure for HIV, but infected people can take antiretroviral (ART) medications to prevent the virus’s growth. In other words, ART can dramatically slow the progression of the disease.
As a result, it reduces the amount of virus in the body, reducing the risk of transmitting the virus through sexual partners. What is more, if the HIV – positive partner is on effective ART, the likelihood of transmission virus to the HIV – negative partner can be reduced to only 4%.
An infected person may develop mild infections or chronic signs and symptoms such as:
- Swollen glands
- Weight loss
These symptoms can last from a few days to several weeks. It is also possible that some people will not have them at all. As you can see, these symptoms are similar to these ones caused by other illnesses. As a result, you can’t rely on symptoms to tell if you have HIV infection. The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to do the test.
Not treated HIV can lead to AIDS.
What is AIDS?
AIDS is a set of symptoms caused by the HIV virus, the final stage of an HIV infection, the stage where the immune system is totally damaged. In other words, the human body is unable to defend itself, and it creates favorable conditions for other diseases like Cancers.
Unfortunately, there is also no cure for AIDS, only treatment. Antiretroviral drugs can control the virus and let infected people live long and healthy lives. To do this, it’s essential to commit to taking treatment correctly.
Symptoms of AIDS can include:
- Profuse night sweats
- Extreme and unexplained tiredness
- Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
- Memory loss
How to prevent HIV infection and AIDS?
Everyone will tell you – Don’t have sex, it is the best option; only then you will be 100% sure that you are healthy. So then, by that line of thinking, we should say; If you don’t want to have food poisoning, just don’t eat. Firstly, remember you can have a normal sex life; you just have to learn how to prevent HIV infection and AIDS.
- Always use condoms – It really lowers the risk. Condoms act as a barrier to HIV.
- Limit the number of your sexual partners.
- Use clean needles
- Choose less risky sex – Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex
- Consider PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)
PrEP – what is it?
PrEP is a medication that reduces the risk of HIV – negative people from becoming infected. When it is taken daily, it is highly effective for preventing HIV. Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV infection from sex by about 99%. It is a little bit less effective among people who inject drugs – 74%.
What about the disadvantages? Well, except some side effects like headaches or nausea – which are not really common. Unfortunately, you have to be consistent, PrEP must be taken every day! If you are interested in this way of preventing infection you need to contact your doctor for a prescription.
How to live with HIV infection and AIDS?
- Eat healthily
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid alcohol or drugs use
- Avoid stress
- Get support
- Take your medicines regularly
How to help and take care of an infected person?
Nowadays, there are many people living with HIV/AIDS infection. Nearly 38 million people live with HIV worldwide. If your friend has an infection, keep being a friend. Moreover, they need care and support. Don’t let him/her feel that they are worse than others. Do things together to reduce stress for example: go for a walk, go out to eat something.
What is more, you may be in a situation where you need to clean up infected body fluids or blood. It is important to use barriers such as rubber/plastic gloves or even plastic bags.
If I am HIV – positive does it mean that I can’t have healthy children?
Absolutely not. Although HIV can be passed from an infected woman to her baby during pregnancy, at the time of birth, or when breast-feeding the child, there are a lot of ways to reduce the risk of passing HIV to your infant. Thanks to more HIV testing and new medicines, the number of infected children has decreased by 90%.
A few words from Yeabunny team
In conclusion, remember you are not alone. We know, finding out that you have HIV/AIDS can be a shock for you. Seek help. Don’t let HIV stop you and don’t let it ruin your life.
Care about others – many people don’t know that they are infected and therefore may be spreading the virus to others.
Test yourself regularly. Don’t let HIV lead to AIDS. If you are looking for any help, visit https://www.unaids.org/en – “UNAIDS is a problem-solver. It places people living with HIV and people affected by the virus at the decision-making table and at the centre of designing, delivering, and monitoring the AIDS response.”