AIDS symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of AIDS? AIDS is preventable and curable? What causes AIDS?

What is AIDS?

AIDS is a disease caused by the retrovirus HIV. It is derived from the English name acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The AIDS disease has to do with the immune system. When people have AIDS, the cells that ensure that the immune system functions properly are no longer being generated sufficiently, making you more vulnerable to relatively harmless diseases. Infections where healthy people heal from eventually, can be deathly to people with AIDS. AIDS is a serious incurable disease.

HIV - cause of AIDS

What causes AIDS? AIDS is caused by the above described HIV virus. Originally, the HIV virus could only be found in monkeys. Presumably due to the increased contact between man and ape is the HIV virus ended up in humans. HIV is a virus that can be transmitted when the blood or mucosa of a healthy person comes in contact with infected body fluids such as blood, breast milk, semen or vaginal secretions. 

AIDS symptoms

Pink ribbon

The main symptom of AIDS is the deterioration of the immune system of the body. This makes the victim extremely vulnerable to many diseases that a healthy person would heal from eventually. An innocent flu could kill an AIDS patient. Common symptoms and signs that may indicate that someone has AIDS are:

  • a lot of weight loss without any reason
  • tremendous tiredness
  • fever
  • dyspnea
  • persistent diarrhea
  • night sweats

AIDS and infections

AIDS affects the immune system at a later stage in such a way that people suffer from a variety of infections that take advantage of the weakened position of the victim. We call these infections opportunistic infections. Some examples of opportunistic infections include pneumonia, toxoplasmosis, herpes, thrush, CMV (causes eye disorders), tuberculosis and salmonella.

Incubation period HIV

Many people do not know they are infected with the HIV virus because it can be very long before the virus causes symptoms. The period between the infection of the virus and the first symptoms is called the incubation period. This period is with HIV and AIDS, depended on the person. In a healthy person the incubation period can be longer than someone who is already suffering from a chronic disease, for example. Some people do not show any symptoms at all, but most people who become infected, develop in a short period after the infection a so-called conversion flu. This conversion flu causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, nausea, headache, night sweats. This flu usually does not last very long but is much more intense than a normal flu. The symptoms disappear after a few days and the person feels completely healthy again. It can take years before someone develops AIDS, but someone who is infected with HIV, the virus can be transmitted to other persons.

AIDS prevention

AIDS can be prevented especially by having safe sex. Use a male or female condom. If you use drugs, you should not use needles from other people, because they can transmit the HIV virus. If someone has AIDS, it is very important that you have no blood contact with him or her. In case that someone with AIDS has an open wound, contact with it could already transmit the AIDS disease. 

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