Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome/Human Immuno Virus.
It is important to distinguish between the two. HIV is
the virus that ultimately causes AIDS. AIDS is a syndrome,
a collection of symptoms associated with HIV infection.
People infected with HIV may have no symptoms for up to
ten years. During this time, they are capable of infecting
anyone they have sex with or donate blood to. Initial
symptoms of HIV infection include inexplicable weight
loss, persistent fever, swollen lymph nodes, and reddish
spots on the skin. HIV causes the destruction of the immune
system. It's most pronounced symptoms, therefore, are
opportunistic infections of pneumocystis carinii, fungal
infections, tuberculosis, and various herpes forms.
is no cure for HIV / AIDS. Right now most scientists agree
that if you are infected with HIV, you will eventually
die of AIDS. Treatment may fend off infections, however
the typical course is for one overwhelming infection to
follow another until the victim succumbs. Various drugs
may slow the virus, but right now there is no cure.
In a person infected with HIV, the virus can be present
in the body's semen, blood, and breast milk. It can also
be present, in much smaller quantities, in vaginal secretion,
saliva, and tears. The AIDS virus can be transmitted via
any of these fluids, but only the first two -- semen and
blood -- are likely to be involved. Anal sex is the most
commonly perceived method of transfer, but vaginal sex
has been repeatedly shown to transmit HIV. Men are less
likely than women to be infected through vaginal sex,
but there are recorded cases of men having been infected
this way. HIV cannot be passed on through casual contact,
hugging, hand-shaking, touching the sweat of an infected
person, or mosquito bites.
testing is usually carried out by various social organisations.
Home HIV kits are also available in the market. there
are various laws in differrent countries regarding testing.
The HIV test shows the presence of antibodies to HIV.
It does not show the presence of the virus: the body first
has to develop antibodies, which normally takes about
six weeks. Hence, a positive result means that someone
has antibodies and could possibly develop AIDS in the
future. A negative result means that someone does not
have antibodies at the moment. If there is a reason to
think that exposure was more recent than six weeks, then
a test taken immediately can only serve as a baseline
to compare against a test taken later. Within six months
of HIV infection, 99% of the population will test positive.
No one should be tested for HIV without first obtaining
counselling and ensuring beforehand support from his or
her family or friends.