HIV - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

HIV - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

A basic understanding of HIV and AIDS can help dispel the myths, erase stigma, prevent virus transmission, and save lives — beginning with your own. HIV-positive individuals have the potential to develop the condition...

Think, Test And Treat HIV

A basic understanding of HIV and AIDS can help dispel the myths, erase stigma, prevent virus transmission, and save lives — beginning with your own.

HIV-positive individuals have the potential to develop the condition known as AIDS. In most cases, antiretroviral therapy can stop the onset of AIDS in HIV-positive individuals.

This article has the answer to all the doubts you have related to HIV.

What is HIV?

It is Human Immunodeficiency Virus

HIV weakens the immune system. CD4 cells, which are also known as T cells, are impacted by untreated HIV and they eventually die.

The body is more susceptible to developing numerous diseases and malignancies over time as CD4 cells are destroyed by HIV.

HIV is spread through secretions of the body, such as:

  • Breast milk
  • Rectal secretions
  • Vaginal secretions
  • Blood.

The virus does not spread by touch or air. And water.

HIV binds to the DNA of cells hence, it islifelongong problem. Although many scientists are striving to develop a medicine to eradicate HIV from the body, none has as yet been discovered.

However, it is easy to control HIV and live with the infection for a very long time with proper medical care such as antiretroviral therapy.

A person with HIV is more likely to have Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, also known as AIDS if they don't receive therapy.

At that moment, the immune system is not able to fight more illnesses, infections, and disorders through its immunity.

With end-stage AIDS, the average life expectancy is roughly three years. Reliable Source. HIV can be effectively managed with antiretroviral medication, and life expectancy can be almost identical to that of someone who has not.

Learn about how HIV affects the body's various systems:

What is AIDS?

HIV-positive individuals have the potential to acquire AIDS. It is HIV's most advanced stage. However, a person affected by HIV will not get AIDS for sure.

CD4 cells die due to HIV. AIDS will be declared in an HIV patient whose CD4 level are less than 200 cells per cubic millimetre.

A person may be diagnosed with AIDS if they have both HIV and the disease.

Early HIV symptoms:-

In the first month or so after catching the virus, a lot of people develop symptoms, though frequently without realising that HIV is the cause of those symptoms.

Presently, there is no treatment for AIDS, and the life expectancy is just about three years after diagnosis.

This might be shortened if the person gets a severe opportunistic illness. However, treatment with antiretroviral drugs can halt the development of AIDS.

If AIDS does develop, it means that the immune system has been severely compromised, or is so frail as to no longer be able to successfully fight off most infections and diseases.

Toxoplasmosis, a brain infection brought on by a parasite, tuberculosis, oral thrush, a throat or mouth infection brought on by a fungus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), a form of the herpes virus, cryptococcal meningitis, a brain infection brought on by a fungus, cryptosporidiosis, a condition brought on by an intestinal parasite, and cancers like Kaposi.

Untreated AIDS is linked to a lower life expectancy, however, this is not a direct result of the illness. Rather, it is a consequence of the diseases and issues that come with having an immune system that has been damaged by AIDS.

They could appear and disappear or linger for a few days to several weeks.

HIV can present with early signs like:

  • Feve
  • Chills
  • An enlarged lymph node
  • Aches and pains in general
  • Skin rash,
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea

The individual experiencing these symptoms might not think they need to consult a healthcare professional because they are comparable to those of common illnesses like the flu.

And even if they do, their doctor might assume they have the flu or mononucleosis and not even think to test for HIV.

During this time, a person's viral load is extremely high whether they are experiencing symptoms or not. The amount of HIV in the bloodstream is known as the viral load.

When there is a high viral load, HIV can be spread quickly to new individuals.

As a person reaches the chronic, or clinical latency, stage of HIV, the initial HIV symptoms typically go away within a few months. With treatment, this stage may persist for many years or even decades.

Individuals with HIV may experience different symptoms.

Learn more about the potential progression of HIV symptoms:

Rash—is it an HIV symptom?

The skin of many HIV-positive patients alters. The rash is frequently one of the initial signs of HIV infection. A typical HIV rash consists of several tiny red lesions that are both flat and elevated.

HIV-related rash

HIV increases a person's susceptibility to skin issues by destroying immune system cells that fight against infection. The following co-infections can result in a rash:

  • Congasum molluscum
  • Simplex herpes shingles

The rash's origin determines:

  • way it seems
  • length of time

Treatment options depend on the underlying cause.

The rash is caused by taking medicine

The rash can result from HIV co-infections, but it can also result from medicines. Some medications prescribed to treat HIV or other ailments can result in a rash.

This kind of rash typically develops a week to two weeks after beginning a new medicine. The rash may occasionally go away on its own. A change in medicine may be required if it doesn't.

Rash brought on by a drug allergy might be quite dangerous.

Among the additional signs of an allergic reaction are:

  • Rashes are widespread and can have a variety of other reasons, even though they can be associated with HIV or HIV drugs.

Is there a difference in the signs of HIV in men?

Although HIV symptoms differ from person to person, they are comparable in both men and women. These signs and symptoms may fluctuate or steadily worsen.

A person may have been exposed to other sexually transmitted diseases if they have been exposed to HIV. (STIs). These consist of:

  • gonorrhoea
  • chlamydia
  • syphilis


Men and individuals who have a penis may discover STI signs, such as sores on their genitalia, earlier than women do. However, males often don't go to the doctor as frequently as women do.

Do women's HIV symptoms differ from men's?

The majority of the time, HIV symptoms in men and women are comparable. However, because men and women have different risks associated with HIV infection, the overall symptoms they encounter may vary.

STIs provide a greater danger to HIV-positive men and women alike. The likelihood that women or individuals who have a vagina will notice little spots or other alterations to their genitalia may, however, be lower than that of men.

Additionally, women with HIV are more likely to:

  • repeatedly occurring vaginal yeast infections
  • Other vaginal infections include bacterial vaginosis, which can cause genital warts and cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), abnormalities in the menstrual cycle, and human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Antiretroviral therapy patients have a very minimal risk of passing HIV to their unborn children during pregnancy and delivery. The ability of women with HIV to breastfeed is also impacted. Breast milk can spread the infection to an unborn child.
  • It is advised that mothers with HIV avoid breastfeeding their infants in the United States and other countries where the formula is easily available and secure. The use of a formula is suggested for these ladies.
  • Pasteurized banked human milk is an alternative to formula.

It's crucial for women who may have been exposed to HIV to be aware of the signs to watch out for.

Find out more about the signs of HIV in women:

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is referred to as AIDS. This syndrome is brought on by HIV, which has often gone untreated for many years and has weakened the immune system.

A person will typically not get AIDS if HIV is identified and treated with antiretroviral medication at an early stage.

If HIV is discovered too late or if a person with HIV is aware of their condition but does not take their antiretroviral medication regularly, they run the risk of developing AIDS.

If they have an HIV strain that is resistant to antiretroviral medication, they may also go on to acquire AIDS.

People with HIV may experience AIDS earlier if they do not receive appropriate and regular therapy. By then, the immune system has suffered significant harm.

Antiretroviral therapy enables someone to maintain a long-term HIV diagnosis without developing AIDS.


A virus that can infect African chimpanzees is related to HIV. The simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), according to scientists, is thought to have spread from chimpanzees to humans through the consumption of chimpanzee meat.

Although it is believed that HIV has been present in the United States since the 1970s, it didn't begin to gain widespread attention until the 1980s.

HIV treatment possibilities

Regardless of viral load, treatment should start as soon as possible after an HIV diagnosis.

  • Antiretroviral therapy, a regimen of daily drugs that prevent the virus from reproducing, is the principal treatment for HIV. This aids in the protection of CD4 cells, maintaining the immune system's capacity to combat disease.
  • Antiretroviral medication helps prevent the development of AIDS from HIV. It also lessens the chance of HIV transmission to others.
  • The viral load will be "undetectable" after successful therapy. Despite the absence of the virus in test results, the person nonetheless has HIV.
  • The virus is still present in the body, though. Additionally, if the patient discontinues antiretroviral medication, the viral load will rise once more, and HIV can

What period is the HIV window?

When someone obtains HIV, it immediately begins to replicate in their body. Antibodies are created by the immune system in response to antigens (viral components). The HIV window period is the interval between being exposed to HIV and when it can be found in the blood. After transmission, most people have detectable HIV antibodies 23 to 90 days later.

Likely, a person who gets an HIV test during the window period will get a negative result. They are still capable of spreading the infection throughout this time, though.

Repeat the test in the future if you suspect you may have been exposed to HIV but were negative during this time.

Prevention of HIV

There is presently no vaccine to stop the spread of HIV, although many scientists are working to create one. But there are several things you can do to stop HIV from spreading.

Safer  sex:

Without the use of a condom or other barrier device, anal or vaginal sex is the most typical way for HIV to be transmitted. Unless intercourse is fully avoided, this risk cannot be completely removed, but it can be significantly decreased by taking a few precautions.

Anyone worried about their risk of contracting HIV should:

  • Test yourself for HIV.
  • They must be aware of their own and their partner's status.
  • Consider getting tested for further STIs (STIs). If they test positive, they should get treatment because having an STI raises the possibility of getting HIV.
  • Apply condoms. Whether they engage in vaginal or anal sex, they should learn how to properly use condoms and always use them.
  • Remember that pre-seminal secretions, which are released before male ejaculation, might contain HIV.
  • If they have HIV, take their meds as prescribed. As a result, there is a lesser chance that their sexual partner may contract the virus.

Other measures of prevention

Additional measures to stop the transmission of HIV include:

  • Don't distribute needles or other items to others. HIV is spread by blood and can be acquired by utilising objects that have had contact with the blood of an HIV-positive person.
  • Think about PEP. If a person has been exposed to HIV, they should speak with their doctor about getting post-exposure prophylaxis. (PEP). PEP can lessen the chance of getting HIV.
  • It comprises three antiretroviral drugs administered over 28 days. As soon as feasible after exposure, but before 36 to 72 hours have passed, PEP should be initiated.

Is there an HIV vaccine?

There are no vaccines available right now to stop or treat HIV. Although other experimental vaccinations are being researched and tested, none have received the green light for widespread usage.

  • HIV is a complex one. It rapidly evolves and is frequently able to thwart immunological responses.
  • Only a small percentage of HIV-positive individuals produce widely neutralising antibodies, which can react to a variety of HIV strains.

HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and hug them; Heaven knows they need it!