Myths About HIV AIDS To Watch Out For

Key Facts about AIDS HIV Infection

  • HIV continues to be a significant global public health concern, with almost 33 million people killed so far. However, with improved access to successful HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care, including opportunistic infections, HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition that helps people living with HIV to lead long and stable lives. 
  • An estimated 38.0 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2019. 
  • As a result of concerted international efforts to respond to HIV, the availability of programs has gradually increased. In 2019, 68 % of adults and 53% of children infected with HIV worldwide received lifetime antiretroviral therapy ( ART).
  • A large majority (85percentt) of pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV also received ART, which not only protects their health but also prevents transmission of HIV to their newborns. 
  • Nonetheless, not everyone has access to HIV tests, diagnosis, and care. Notably, the 2018 Super-Fast-Track goals for rising new pediatric HIV infections to 40 000 have not been achieved. Global 2020 goals are at risk of being missed unless timely action is taken. 
  • Due to gaps in HIV services, 690 000 people died from HIV-related causes in 2019 and 1,7 million were newly infected.
  • Main demographic groups and their sexual partners accounted for more than 60 percent of all new HIV infections worldwide in the 15-49 age range (an estimated 62 percent) in 2019. In Eastern and Central Asia, Asia and the Pacific, Western and Central Europe and North America and the Middle East and North Africa, these populations accounted for more than 95% of new HIV infections in each of these countries. 
  • WHO describes the main populations as people at increased risk of HIV in all countries and regions. Key populations include men who have sex with men; people who inject drugs; people in prisons and other enclosed settings; sex workers and their clients; and transgender people.



Introduction to HIV/AIDS and HIV Symptoms

Human immunodeficiency virus ( HIV) targets the immune system and weakens people's defense against many infections and certain types of cancer. As the virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, infected individuals gradually become immunocompromised. Immune function is usually measured by the CD4 cell count. 

Immunodeficiency results in increased vulnerability to a wide variety of viruses, cancers, and other diseases that people with strong immune systems can protect against. 

The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome ( AIDS), which can take several years to develop if not treated, depending on the patient.

The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome ( AIDS), which can take several years to develop if not treated, depending on the patient. AIDS is characterized by the occurrence of certain diseases, infections, or other severe long-term clinical manifestations. 

The symptoms of HIV vary according to the stage of infection. While HIV-positive people appear to be most contagious in the first few months after they have been diagnosed, many are unaware of their status until the later stages. Any signs of flu-like illness, including fever, headache, rash, or sore throat, can occur in the first few weeks after the initial infection.

As the infection slowly weakens the immune system, other signs and symptoms may develop, such as swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fever, diarrhea, and cough. Serious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), cryptococcal meningitis, serious bacterial infections, and cancers such as lymphomas and Kaposi's sarcoma may also grow without care.

 

Difference between HIV Infection and AIDS Infection

HIV is the virus that causes the disease. AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV and AIDS are not necessarily the same thing. Those with HIV will not necessarily have AIDS. 

HIV is a virus that has passed from person to person. Over time, HIV destroys an important type of cell in your immune system ( called CD4 cells or T cells) that helps protect you from infections. If you don't have enough of these CD4 cells, your body can't fight infections the way it can. 

AIDS is a condition caused by the damage to the immune system caused by HIV. You have AIDS when you have serious infections or a very small number of CD4 cells. AIDS is the most severe level of HIV, leading to death overtime. 

Without treatment, it usually takes about ten years for someone with HIV to develop AIDS. Treatment speeds down the damage done by the infection and can help people remain alive for many decades.



Acute HIV Symptoms

The most common primary HIV symptoms are listed as follows:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and joint pain
  • Rash
  • Sore throat and painful mouth sores
  • Swollen lymph glands, mainly on the neck
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Night sweats

 

Chronic HIV Symptoms

List of Chronic HIV Symptoms are as follows:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes — often one of the first signs of HIV infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Oral yeast infection (thrush)
  • Shingles (herpes zoster)
  • Pneumonia

 

Progression to AIDS Symptoms

Here's a list of the most common AIDS symptoms:

  • Sweats
  • Chills
  • Recurring fever
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Persistent white spots or unusual lesions on your tongue or in your mouth
  • Persistent, unexplained fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Skin rashes or bumps

 

HIV Transmission 

You will only get HIV if you have the body fluids of someone who has HIV in your blood. A person with HIV will pass the virus on to others, whether they have symptoms or not. 

There are a lot of theories about how HIV transmission from one person to another, but there are only a few ways you can get it. There are also a variety of things you can do to may the risk of HIV transmission. Different ways of HIV transmission: 

  • having vaginal or anal sex
  • sharing needles or syringes for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.
  • getting stuck with a needle that has HIV-infected blood on it
  • getting HIV-infected blood, semen (cum), or vaginal fluids into open cuts or sores on your body

Also Read: Some Skin Problems Related To HIV/AIDS

HIV AIDS Diagnosis

HIV can be diagnosed with quick diagnostic tests that provide results on the same day. This makes early diagnosis and linkages with treatment and cares much easier. People may also take HIV self-tests to test themselves. However, no single test can provide a complete diagnosis of HIV; confirmatory testing is provided by a certified and trained health professional or community professional at a community center or clinic. HIV infection can be identified with great precision by means of WHO pre-qualified tests within the nationally accepted research strategy.

The most commonly used HIV diagnostic tests detect antibodies developed by a person as part of their immune response to HIV control. In most cases, people develop HIV antibodies within 28 days of infection. At this time, people are entering the so-called "gap" phase – when HIV antibodies have not been developed at sufficient rates to be identified by standard testing, and when they may have seen no symptoms of HIV infection, but also when they may have transmitted HIV to others. After an infectious person can transmit HIV transmission to a sexual partner or a drug-sharing partner or to pregnant women during pregnancy or breast-feeding.

With a positive diagnosis, people should be retested before they are admitted to medication and care to rule out any possible examination or reporting mistake. Notably, after a person has been diagnosed with HIV and begun treatment, they should not be retested. 

 

Signs Of AIDS

HIV destroys CD4 T cells — white blood cells that play a major role in helping your body fight disease. The fewer CD4 T cells you have, the weaker your immune system will become. 

You may have HIV infection, with little to no signs, years before you turn to AIDS. AIDS is diagnosed if the CD4 T cell count falls below 200 or if you have an AIDS-defining condition, such as a severe infection.



HIV Test/ AIDS Test 

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test, determines whether you are infected with HIV, a virus that weakens your immune system and can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome ( AIDS). 

Some HIV tests check for antibodies produced by your immune system in response to HIV infection. Many HIV studies are searching for evidence of the virus itself. A rapid HIV test will yield results within 20 minutes.

HIV diagnosis is the only way to say for sure whether you have HIV. Many people have no symptoms and can live for several years without realizing that they have a virus. 

Getting an AIDS Test or HIV tested is quick, easy, painless, confidential, and almost always free. Test for HIV to keep you and your partners healthy on a regular basis. When you know your standing, you will stop thinking about it.

Three types of HIV tests are used to treat HIV infection: antibody tests HIV Test, antigen/antibody tests HIV Test, and nucleic acid tests (NATs) HIV Test. As early as each test will detect HIV infection is different as each test has a different window duration. The window duration is the time between when a person may have been exposed to HIV and when the test will reliably diagnose HIV infection. If the HIV test is positive, a follow-up test will be conducted. 

Often people would need to go to a health care facility to take a follow-up exam. Many times, a follow-up exam can be conducted in a laboratory using the same blood sample as that given for the first study. A positive follow-up HIV test indicates that someone has HIV.

Talk to your health care provider to know more about HIV testing. 

 

How do HIV/ AIDS Tests Work? 

When you get HIV, the immune system produces antibodies that try to ward off the infection. The most common type of HIV test or AIDS test is for these antibodies in your blood or cells from your cheek. 

It normally takes around 3 months for the body to produce enough antibodies to turn up for an HIV test, but it may be longer. This time after you get infected but don't get a positive HIV test, it's called the "window era." If you get tested during this time, you will get a negative result even though you actually have HIV. You will have the greatest risk of giving HIV to other people during the window era.

 

HIV Myths 

There are a lot of misconceptions about HIV. Myth is a myth or a concept that isn't real. It is important to be able to tell the truth from the theory when coping with HIV. Believing myths can lead to anxiety, denial, and even harm to your safety.

 

  • HIV / AIDS infection is a death sentence
  • HIV/ AIDS infection spreads by touching people or even from looking at them.
  • People infected with HIV or AIDS can't get pregnant or safely have children. 
  • HIV always results in AIDS.
  • HIV is curable with the help of modern treatments. 
  • Those who get the negative results of an HIV test or AIDS test can have unprotected sex.
  • There is nothing like HIV transmission.

 

Myths about HIV are very detrimental to men. They can make you afraid of something that isn't dangerous. And they can make you believe like something isn't harmful when it really is! 

 

It's important to know the truth and get the facts right. Sometimes people appear to be well-informed or well-meaning to give out false information. Speak to your health care provider, your local AIDS agency, or the CDC National AIDS Hotline if you have a concern about HIV.