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HIV

3/3/2024

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HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that attacks the immune system, specifically targeting CD4 cells, which are crucial for fighting off infections. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), a condition where the immune system is severely weakened, making the body vulnerable to opportunistic infections and cancers. Early detection and treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) can help people with HIV live long and healthy lives.
The symptoms of HIV can vary from person to person and may depend on the stage of infection. In the early stages, some people may not experience any symptoms at all. However, common early symptoms can include fever, fatigue, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, and rash. As the virus progresses, symptoms may include weight loss, night sweats, chronic diarrhea, and opportunistic infections due to a weakened immune system. It's important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other illnesses, so getting tested is crucial for an accurate diagnosis.
There are different types of HIV tests available, including:

Antibody Tests: These tests look for antibodies produced by the immune system in response to HIV infection. They can be done using blood from a vein, finger prick, or oral fluid. Results are usually available within minutes to a week, depending on the type of test.

Antigen Tests: These tests detect HIV antigens, substances produced by the virus itself. They are often used in combination with antibody tests for earlier detection of HIV infection.

Nucleic Acid Tests (NAT): These tests directly detect the genetic material of HIV (RNA) and are typically used for early detection of infection, especially in cases where recent exposure is suspected.

It's important to get tested regularly, especially if you've engaged in behaviors that could put you at risk for HIV, such as unprotected sex or sharing needles. Testing is confidential and often available at healthcare clinics, community health centers, and through home test kits.
HIV medicine, also known as antiretroviral therapy (ART), is a combination of drugs used to treat HIV infection. These medications work by inhibiting the replication of the virus, thereby reducing the viral load in the body and allowing the immune system to recover and function better. ART typically consists of a combination of three or more drugs from different classes, such as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), protease inhibitors (PIs), integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs), and entry inhibitors. Following the prescribed ART regimen is crucial for effectively managing HIV and preventing the progression to AIDS.
Practicing safe sex is crucial to prevent HIV transmission. This includes using condoms consistently and correctly, reducing the number of sexual partners, and getting tested regularly for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Additionally, avoiding sharing needles or other injection equipment can help prevent HIV transmission among people who inject drugs.

For healthcare workers, following universal precautions, such as wearing gloves and disposing of needles properly, is essential when handling blood and other bodily fluids. Pregnant women with HIV should receive antiretroviral therapy to prevent mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.

Education and awareness about HIV/AIDS are also important in reducing stigma and discrimination, as well as promoting early testing and treatment.
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HIV
HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that attacks the immune system, specifically targeting CD4 cells, which are crucial for fighting off infections. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), a condition where the immune system is severely weakened, making the body vulnerable to opportunistic infections and cancers. Early detection and treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) can help people with HIV live long and healthy lives.
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