Human Immunodeficiency Virus(HIV) is a viral infection that attacks the immune system and causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) if not treated.
HIV is transmitted through:
1. Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs),
2. Inoculation with infected blood/blood products,
3. Use Of Contaminated Needles, and
4. Vertical Transmission From Mother To Child.
Origin of HIV/AIDS
HIV is believed to have came from Central Africa from a hunted meat of a Chimpanzee. The virus jumped from the hunted meat to human being.
Stages of HIV
1. Stage 1: Acute HIV infection
Acute infection happens when a person is first infected by the virus which multiplies and spread through the body.
Symptoms may include: such as fever, muscle aches, joint pains, swollen lymph nodes, rash, night sweat, sore throat, and fatigue and mouth ulcers. These symptoms appear within 2 to 4 weeks after infection.
2. Stage 2: Asymptomatic or chronic HIV infection
At this stage, the virus multiplies slowly and people may not experience any symptoms at all. A person feels perfectly well after the initial infection.
This stage lasts for several years 2-10 years inmost people. During this time nobody can tell that the person is infected unless it.
Stage 3: Symptomatic HIV infection
During asymptomatic stage, the virus is slowly destroying the immune system of the person even though the person feels well.
Eventually the immune system cannot work properly and. the. person will start experiencing some infections or other symptoms. If left untreated, HIV leads to AIDS.
Symptoms include the following:
1. Unexplained weight loss >10% of body weight.
2. Unexplained diarrhea >1month.
3. Recurring fever.
4. Getting tired easily.
5. Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin or neck.
6. Sores of the mouth, anus or genitals.
7.Recurrent Bacterial Infections (e.g pneumonia, pyomyositis)(rare bacterial infection of the skeletal muscle).
8. Memory loss and depression.
9. Purplish spots on the skin that don't go away.
10. Pulmonary tuberculosis.
Stage 4: AIDS (Full blown phase)
This stage is the final stage of HIV infection where a person has a very damaged immune system.
There are serious illnesses that people may get when HIV has significantly weakened their immunes system.
The symptoms are severe such as:
1. Persistent high fevers over 37.8C,
2. Severe chills and night sweats,
3. White spots in the mouth,
4. Genital or anal sores
5. Severe fatigue,
6. Rashes that can be brown, red, or pink in color.
7. Regular coughing and breathing problems
8. Significant weight loss.
However, HIV testing is not guaranteed of safety before meeting your partner. This is a misconception among many young people that they can test for HIV and have safe pleasure.
Here is why it cannot work
1. There are three types of HIV tests
(a) Nucleic Acid Test (NAT). Despite being the most expensive it is very accurate test. The method is safe for those at high risk. NAT unlike other test that detect antibodies, NAT detect genetic material i.e RNA. It is used in;
-elimination of false negative or positive,
-monitoring the effectiveness of HIV treatment (viral load),
-recent exposure and early symptoms and
NAT is superior in its ability to identify the virus sooner than other types of test. It detects between 10 to 30 days after exposure.
(b) Antibody test. This me this rely on only on antibodies developed towards HIV antigen virus. These antibodies are produced by your immune system in response to to an exposure to foreign antigen like virus; in this case HIV.
Blood samples can be used which is drawn from the vein, finger prick, and sometimes oral swab(Oraquick).
This method can detect the virus between 25 to 90 days. Blood can be more accurate than oral swab.
(c) Antigen/antibody test. This method detect both HIV antigens and antibodies. The method detect 20 to 90 days after exposure.
HIV is carried in the blood and other body fluids such as;
-Blood and blood products,
-Cervical secretions and menstrual discharge,
-Semen and vaginal fluids.
HIV is likely not to be transmitted through;
Most at risk populations for HIV
1. People who inject drugs
2. Male to male relationship,
3. Trans gender persons,
4. Sex workers and
Prevention of HIV Infection
(a) Using the acronym ABC
1. Abstinence say no to sex until married and then stay faithful to your partner.
2. Being faithful to your partner
3. Condom. Use a condom correctly and consistently.
(b) Voluntary male medical circumcision
-It reduces the man’s chances of getting other infections like syphilis and herpes.
-It It also gives some protection against penile cancer in men and cervical in women.
This is a strategy where HIV negative individuals take anti–HIV medications before coming into contact with HIV to reduce their risk of becoming infected.
PEP are HIV medicines taken very soon after a possible exposure to HIV to prevent the virus from taking hold in the body.
PEP is a combination of three drugs taken once or twice a day for quests for adult.
Elimination of mother to child transmission
An HIV positive mother can Transmit HIV To Her Baby Anytime During Pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.
If you are a woman with HIV and are pregnant, treatment with a combination of HIV medicine (called anti retroviral therapy or ART) can prevent transmission of HIV to your baby and Protect your health.
Types of HIV testing
Six types of HIV testing are recognized:
1.Voluntary counseling and testing (VCT)- is indicated by a client seeking to learn his/her HIV status for the purposes of prevention of HIV infection and life planning.
2.Routine testing and counseling- is provided as part of a standard screening package for such as for pregnant women receiving prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV(PMCT) services.
3.Diagnostic testing and counseling- is requested by health workers as part of the diagnostic work up for patients who presents with symptoms or signs that could be attributable to HIV disease.
4.Required testing. is performed without specific consent in certain restricted settings, such as during military recruitment, foreign travel, insurance and specialized employment.
5.Testing for blood and tissue donation- is required testing for HIV and other transfusion or tissue transmissible infections.
6.Testing for medical research and surveillance- is performed under specific guidelines and regulations approved by appropriate scientific and ethical review boards for these activities.
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