What Is HIV/AIDS?

AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is a health condition that is caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). This virus attacks the immune system of the person and if it is not treated on time, it will lead to AIDS. Having basic knowledge about HIV/AIDS can help you avoid infection and keep you healthy.

HIV has no cure and once you are infected with HIV, your body will never be able to get rid of it. However, with the help of proper medical care, the infection can be controlled. People who are infected with HIV will be able to live long with the help of proper HIV treatment.

How To Know If You Have HIV?

Getting tested is the only available way to find if you have an HIV infection. Understanding your HIV status will help you make healthy decisions to prevent the spread of the infection.

Are There Any Symptoms?

Some people will show flu-like symptoms in two to four weeks after getting infected by the virus. Some of the possible symptoms of the infection include chills, night sweats, fever, rashes, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, and mouth ulcers. However, some may not feel sick or show any symptoms of infection.

Stages Of HIV

Without proper treatment, a person with HIV infection can go through three different stages. These are discussed below.

Acute Infection

In this stage of the infection, the amount of the virus in the blood of the person will be very large. Some may show fever and flu-like symptoms, which is the response of the body to the infection. Acute HIV infection can be diagnosed only by nucleic acid tests or antigen/antibody tests.

Chronic Infection

This stage is also called clinical latency or asymptomatic HIV infection. In this stage, the virus will be active but will reproduce only at very low rates. This period can last for a decade or longer for many people. At the end of the chronic infection stage, the person moves to the third stage, which is commonly called AIDS.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

AIDS is the most severe stage of HIV infection. In this stage, the immune system will be so badly damaged that the person will be affected by many illnesses. This is called opportunistic infection. A person affected with AIDS will have a very high viral load and will be very infectious. Without proper treatment, a person with AIDS will typically survive for 3 years.

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