What are AIDS Symptoms? How is AIDS Transmitted? Is AIDS Transmitted by Kissing? How Long Does AIDS Kill?
This virus, which is HIV or “Human Immunodeficiency Virus”, progresses to AIDS when left untreated. AIDS is one of the most important and dangerous diseases of our age because it is contagious. Basically, it threatens vital systems by preventing the correct functioning of the immune system. A problem in the immune system of a person infected with the AIDS virus interferes with the body’s normal defense system against infections and other diseases.
HIV virus is basically an infection-related virus that is transmitted through sexual intercourse and bodily fluids such as blood. It can also be transmitted from mother to child through pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. There is no known definitive cure for AIDS. But the progression of the disease and the damage to the immune system can be slowed down significantly by drugs.
What Are the Symptoms of HIV/AIDS?
It is a disease like HIV/AIDS that can progress for many years and show different symptoms according to the stages. Therefore, the symptoms of the disease vary according to the stages. These phases are as follows:
- Primary (acute) Infection,
- Clinical Hidden Infection
- It is listed as Symptomatic Infection.
The symptoms of each stage are as follows:
Primary Infection (Acute HIV)
The first symptoms that the HIV virus shows for 2 to 4 weeks after it enters the body are risky in terms of resembling the flu. It is very important at this stage to understand that the person has contracted the HIV virus, and the person usually does not consult a doctor, thinking that he or she has contracted a flu virus. This stage, known as primary, or acute HIV infection, can last for several weeks and its possible symptoms are listed as follows:
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Sore throat and mouth sores
- Swollen lymph nodes (usually in the neck area)
- weight loss
- night sweats
In some cases, these symptoms can be very mild. Therefore, it is very important to have a test in case of suspicious contact. In addition, at an important point, the rate of spread of the HIV virus at this stage is higher than at other stages.
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Clinical Hidden Infection (Chronic HIV)
At this point, when the disease has passed into the chronic stage, the HIV virus is still active in the body’s white blood cells, but there are usually no symptoms.
Symptomatic HIV Infection
At this stage, the HIV virus has now multiplied in the body and accelerated the destruction of immune cells. Some symptoms may be mild, while others may be severe.
- swelling of the lymph
- Occurrence of an oral yeast infection known as thrush
- Zona (herpes zoster)
Transformation of HIV Virus into AIDS Disease
Antiviral treatment methods are applied to people who are HIV positive. If a person is not properly treated after being infected with HIV, within 8 to 10 years, the infection will develop into AIDS. Basically, the biggest damage of the HIV virus to the body is that it destroys CD4 T cells from the disease-fighting white blood cells. The fewer CD4 T cells a person has, the weaker that person’s immunity. Studies conducted in the United States have shown that when the right treatment is applied to people carrying the HIV virus, the rate of conversion to AIDS slows down considerably.
The symptoms of this infection at the stage of turning into AIDS are as follows:
- regular firing
- chronic diarrhea
- swollen lymph nodes
- Persistent white patches or unusual lesions on the tongue or mouth
- feeling tired all the time
- weight loss
- shedding on the skin
How is HIV Virus Transmitted?
Blood, semen or vaginal secretions play a role in the transmission of HIV virus from one person to another. This can happen in several different ways:
- Having Sex: Having sex with someone who is infected with HIV is one of the fastest known ways of spreading this virus. For this reason, it is extremely important to protect yourself with a condom while having sex.
- Use of Needles: If needles, syringes and similar instruments used in the health sector are not used correctly, the virus in the blood of an infected person can easily be transmitted to other people.
- Blood Transfusion: Although various tests and precautions have been taken today, the possibility of HIV transmission during blood transfusion is quite high.
- Pregnancy, Birth or Breastfeeding: If an infected mother is not aware of the virus she is carrying, she can transmit this virus to her baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. Today, the rate of transmission of this disease to their babies by mothers who are HIV-positive and treated for infection during pregnancy has decreased considerably.
There are still misconceptions about the transmission of the HIV virus. It is not possible to catch the virus by touching, hugging, dancing or shaking hands with someone who has HIV. In addition, the HIV virus does not spread through air or water. Another person is not infected with an insect bite.
The HIV virus is contagious, regardless of age, race or gender. Anyone who is exposed to the secretions of a person with HIV, such as blood or semen, can become infected with this virus.
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Diseases Caused by HIV Virus
The immune system of a person infected with the HIV virus weakens over time. Not only AIDS, but also many other diseases can occur with this virus.
- Pneumocystis Pneumonia (PCP): A type of fungal infection, PCP is frequently seen in many AIDS patients.
- Thrush: It is the most common type of infection known to be associated with HIV. It causes inflammation in the mouth, tongue, esophagus or vagina. If the infection progresses, a white layer resembling thrush forms in certain parts of the body.
- Tuberculosis: One of the most common infections associated with HIV is tuberculosis.
- Cytomegalovirus: This common herpes virus is transmitted through bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, urine, semen, and breast milk. This virus goes into a dormant state in a healthy immune system. The moment the person’s immune system weakens, the virus reactivates and begins to damage the organs.
- Cryptococcal Meningitis: Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Cryptococcal meningitis is also a common HIV-related central nervous system infection.
- Lymphoma: Since this type of cancer starts in white blood cells, just like HIV, they are thought to trigger each other.
- Kaposi’s Sarcoma: Tumors that arise in the walls of blood vessels, this is the most general definition of the disease. Problems caused by the HIV virus are likely to cause this disease in the long run.
- Neurological Complications: HIV virus can cause neurological symptoms such as confusion, forgetfulness, depression, anxiety and walking difficulties over time by affecting the central nervous system.
- Kidney Diseases: The filters that allow the kidneys to remove excess fluid and waste from the body through urine can become inflamed due to the HIV virus. This causes serious kidney diseases to be triggered.
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What are the Ways of Protection from HIV Virus?
It is possible to protect yourself from the HIV virus, like all other diseases, consciously and by following the rules.
- Sexual Life: Generally, monogamous or protected sex is the most important factor in protecting a person against HIV or many similar viruses. People who have regular sex, especially with more than one person, are more likely to contract HIV.
- Open Wounds: Open wounds in sensitive areas such as the vagina increase the rate of transmission of viruses such as HIV. It is important to treat these types of wounds quickly.
- Living Healthy and Regularly: People with the highest rate of HIV transmission are people who use drugs. In addition, the bodies of people living in an unhealthy way are seen as a clear threat against this type of virus.
It is known that people who test positive for HIV improve their quality of life with proper nutrition and treatment. Today, many drugs and treatment methods can prevent the progression of HIV virus and AIDS disease from harming the person to a great extent.