HIV:

Human immunodeficiency virus ( )

HIV is an infection by the human immunodeficiency virus that can be transmitted through sexual contact, contact with infected blood, or during birth from mother to child. It weakens the immune system and the infection can lead to other illnesses at which point it is called AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

Full Description

HIV is an infection of the human immunodeficiency virus. Most people become infected by having unprotected sexual intercourse. The infection can also spread by sharing needles, contact with blood, or during birth from mother to child. New cases of infection are high amongst men who have sex with men and drug users. The virus infects the immune system and can lead to further infections or even cancer years after the initial infection. At this stage the disease is called AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

Symptoms

Diarrhea, Fever, Nausea, Skin rash, Sore throat, Swollen glands in the armpit, Swollen glands in the groin, Swollen glands in the neck, Tiredness, Vomiting, Pain in the limbs, Night sweats

Medical Conditions

After infection because of risky sexual contacts (e.g. "unsafe sex" without using a condom, anal sex, semen or blood inside the mouth), or a needle stick injury with an infected needle, there are usually little symptoms. Typical symptoms are those of flu, with fever, sore throat, aching limbs, as well as swollen lymph nodes that occur for about 1-6 weeks after the infection. After that, the symptoms fade away. There are various tests that can show whether a person got infected, a few weeks after an infection. An HIV infection is very burdensome for the patient and his surroundings. Today's therapy options can postpone the break-out of AIDS for a long time, and patients can attain an almost normal life span. The following recommendations should be followed to reduce the risk of an HIV infection as much as possible: Always use a condom when having sex, no blood or semen inside the mouth as well as being careful when handling blood or syringes. Special arrangements are made for pregnant ladies (treatment of mother and child with medication, birth via C-section, no breastfeeding), to avoid an infection of the child.

Treatment

If there is a risk that an infection occurred, a specialist doctor should be consulted (a doctor specializing in infectiology or internal medicine) to discuss further steps. An accurate measurement of blood levels is always necessary to determine the start of the therapy with special medication. This is necessary to stabilize the body's immune deficiency and to prolong the outbreak of AIDS (e.g. infections or tumors caused by the immune deficiency). Unfortunately, HIV/AIDS is not curable yet, but with an ideal therapy it is possible to attain an almost normal life span.