HIV Facts

HIV Facts
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that affects the human immune system, leading to its progressive failure and the development of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). When the immune system begins to fail the body is unable to fight off life-threatening diseases and infections. Treatment can help to prolong the onset of AIDS as well as reduce its spread. Transmission of HIV can occur in a variety of ways, but it is preventable when precautions are taken. HIV transmission rates are higher in low income countries, and it is estimated that only 46% of the estimated 18.2 million infected people in the world are receiving proper treatment.
Interesting HIV Facts:
HIV is spread through bodily fluids such as blood, and breast milk, as well as through unprotected sex. It is spread through drug use when people share needles.
Children are most commonly infected through breast milk or through mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy and childbirth.
It is not possible to get HIV by touching someone's hand or touching a doorknob, or toilet seat, or through insect bites or in the air.
The symptoms of HIV include flu-like symptoms that often appear a month or two after being infected. These include a fever, rash, and headache.
The more severe symptoms of HIV don't appear usually until several years later. They can include persistent diarrhea, weight loss, and opportunistic infections and cancers that are related to infections.
Once a person has contracted HIV they can live for 10 years or more without the virus becoming AIDS.
Progression from HIV to AIDS is determined by blood tests and/or the presence of opportunistic infections.
An HIV infected person's CD4 count (cells that protect against infection) indicates AIDS when it drops to a level under 200 cells/mm3. A healthy person's count is usually between 500 and 1,600 cells/mm3.
Treatment of HIV includes ART (antiretroviral therapy) which involves the use of three or more ARV drugs. This treatment plan is not a cure but can prolong an infected person's life because it helps to control the viral replication and it strengthens their immune system.
There is a target set out by WHO (World Health Organization) to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 by giving access to treatment to all those with HIV and those at substantial risk.
Among those with HIV, tuberculosis is one of the most common causes of illness and death. Early detection and ART can help to reduce this risk.
The presence of HIV can be detected through a blood test. In some cases it will not show up for several months, which makes it very important that people always practice safe sex.
Condoms can reduce the transmission of HIV. Male condoms provide at least an 85% protection rate.
Before people knew enough about HIV and AIDS many were infected through tainted blood products. This is rare today in industrialized countries as blood products are tested before being used.
Healthcare workers are sometimes infected by needle stick injuries. Other possible infections occur because of unsterile conditions when having body piercings or tattoos.

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