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  • Together HIV/AIDS we can beat it.

    HIV is the acronym for the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is virus that causes the incurable acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Over time, HIV destroys the helper T cells of the body's immune system, resulting in a critical deterioration of the immune system and the ability of the body to fight infection.
    HIV is most often a sexually transmitted virus. It is passed from one person another during sexual contact that involves vaginal, oral, or anal sex. HIV can also be passed to another person through other means, such as through contact with blood or body fluids. This can occur through such processes as blood transfusions or sharing needles contaminated with HIV. HIV can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.
    Early infection with HIV often produces no symptoms. When there are symptoms, they can include flu-like symptoms that occur about four to eight weeks after infection. These symptoms generally go away within several weeks. There then may be no symptoms for months to years. The most serious complication of HIV infection is AIDS. For more details on complications and symptoms, refer to symptoms of HIV.
    Any person that engages in sexual activity can contract and pass on HIV. This includes heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual men and women. The more sexual partners a person has, the greater the risk of catching and passing on HIV. Having another type of sexually transmitted disease, such as chlamydia, genital herpes, HPV or gonorrhea, also puts a person at greater risk for contracting an HIV infection and AIDS.
    The diagnostic test for HIV is a blood test that can reveal the presence of the specific antibodies (infection-fighting substances) that the body makes in response to an HIV infection. However, HIV may not be detectable in the first one to three months after infection.
    During or after diagnosis, a physician or licensed health care provider will take a medical and sexual history to determine general health and immune system status. A complete physical and pelvic examination for women and physical and examination of the penis and testicles for men is also done. Additional tests are done to test for the presence of other potential disorders and diseases, including sexually transmitted diseases. Pelvic ultrasound and laparoscopic surgery may also be done in women if other sexually transmitted diseases or complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, are also present.
    Because there may be no symptoms, some people with HIV may be unaware of a problem, and a diagnosis can be missed or delayed. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of HIV.
    Contracting HIV is highly preventable. Prevention of HIV is best accomplished by abstaining from sexual activity or having sex only within a mutually monogamous relationship in which neither partner is infected with HIV. Latex condoms also provide some protection from HIV when used properly.
    There currently is no cure for HIV infection. However, prompt diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce or delay the onset of some serious complications, such as opportunistic infections, improve the quality of life, and minimize the spread of the disease to others. Treatment generally includes medication. Hospitalization may be necessary if a person has serious complications, such as meningitis or an opportunistic infection. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of HIV.
    HIV/AIDS: HIV is a sexually transmitted virus and AIDS is the life-threatening immune failure that occurs late in the progression of HIV. AIDS was once in the top ten cause of death in the USA but has dropped out owing to better treatments and reduced transmission.
    Very early stages of HIV just after infection resemble the flu or another viral infection. There then follows a latent stage (often years) with no symptoms, and then an early AIDS stage (also often years) with various symptoms, many of them non-specific and easy to misdiagnose. AIDS becomes much more characteristic in the latter stages of the disease where immune failure becomes almost total.

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