HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus which causes harm to immune system. This virus may try to put an end to the type of white blood cells called CD4 cells. HIV is a member of retrovirus and lentivirus and it cannot multiply on its own. It reduces the number of CD4 lymphocytes in the body making the person more likely to get other infections. CD4 cells are related to the  immune system which helps in competing with the infections.

If HIV is not treated in the initial stages it causes AIDS(Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). AIDS is not the virus, but rather a set of symptoms that result from the virus. It is defined as either having a T-cell count below 200 cells per mL of blood, or as having HIV and at least one opportunistic infection associated with AIDS, regardless of T-cell count. An opportunistic infection is an infection caused by pathogens that would normally not be a problem, but which take advantage of an opportunity such as a compromised immune system. In the initial stage of the virus symptoms may not be seen in most of the cases. Slowly the immune system becomes weak and often becomes worse. The last stage of HIV is called AIDS in which the immune system is completely damaged. Early symptoms of HIV include fever, night wetness, throat pain, Mouth ulcers, fatigue, etc. The progression from HIV to AIDS may take 8 to 10 years. Many more other infections may also attack because of the weak immune system in the patient body. People of any age and gender may get HIV. Until now there is no complete remedy for HIV. But the growth of the virus can be stopped by proper treatment. Everyone who is infected by HIV may not progresses to AIDS.

HIV is transmitted through the following

  • Sexual contact by passage of semen and vaginal secretions.
  • Needle sharing through blood
  • Mother to child transmission
  • Contaminated blood transfusion products

HIV will not be transmitted just by kissing, hugging, sharing food, insect bites, sneezes and coughs, sharing toilet seats.

There are three stages of HIV infection.

  • The acute infection
  • Chronic or latent phase
  • AIDS

The acute infection begins when HIV enters the body and establishes an infection. Some people get no symptoms during this period, though typically, there will be flu-like or mononucleosis-like symptoms that decline over 1to 2 months. Initially, replication occurs within immune cells at the site of infection, or in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. In the chronic stage, generalized immune activation, combined with the gradual loss of the ability of the immune system to generate new T-cells which results in the decrease in the T-cells. In the final stage of HIV infection i.e. AIDS stage, the T-cell count falls down very badly. The immune system is severely compromised. AIDS patients suffer from constant diarrhea from infectious parasites, recurring pneumonia and many fungal infections. People will not die from HIV, but by further infections that are caused by the virus.

Dr.Ravi Kiran is the best HIV/AIDS treatment doctor in Hyderabad with more than 15 years of experience. He successfully treated many HIV patients who are leading normal lives.

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