What is the full form of AIDS

AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Each word can be explained as:

Acquired: It means that you can get infected with it.

Immune Deficiency: It specifies the weakness of body’s immune system.

Syndrome: It is a group symptoms that make up a disease.

AIDS is a disease of human immune system caused by the infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The initial symptoms of this disease may be a brief period of influenza-like illness. AIDS is a disease which may progress for a long period of time without any symptoms. As the infection progresses, it interferes more and more with the immune system and makes the infected person too weak and thus susceptible to common infections like Tuberculosis, tumors, asthma, etc.

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How HIV virus infects?

The HIV virus attacks on the T-cells in the immune system and makes your body so weak that it can be easily affected by bacteria, virus and fungi. In starting weeks, it can show symptoms like a headache, fever, sore joints and muscles, etc. When the infection spreads, the human immune system becomes weaker and loses its ability to fight the normal infections, diseases and cancers. AIDS is the extreme condition of this infection, i.e. a person infected with HIV will progress to AIDS, if not treated properly.

Stages of HIV

The HIV infection is divided into three stages;

  • Acute HIV Infection
  • Chronic HIV Infection
  • AIDS/ Advanced Infection

Acute HIV Infection: This is the first stage of HIV infection. Generally, the symptoms of HIV infection do not appear instantly after the infection. So, people don’t know right away when they are infected with HIV. It takes around two to four weeks for the initial symptoms of HIV to appear. This stage starts when the symptoms of HIV start appearing. This stage is also called primary HIV infection or acute retroviral syndrome. The flu-like sickness which is a the main symptom in this stage is known as acute HIV infection.

Chronic HIV Infection: This is the second stage of HIV infection. In this stage, the immune system loses the battle with HIV and the flu like symptoms disappear. The other symptoms may take months or years to appear. Doctors call this stage asymptomatic or clinical latent period. In this stage, the virus starts replicating in the body that gradually weakens the immune system. You may not look or feel sick, so there are chances that you can pass HIV to others. So, the early testing for HIV is very important, even if you are feeling fine.

AIDS/Advanced Infection: This is the third and advanced stage of HIV infection. In this stage, your CD4 T-cell number goes below 200 and your immunity decreases drastically that make you more susceptible to opportunistic infections.

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Reasons for HIV infection

The HIV can be found in saliva, tears, blood, semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk and nervous system tissue. However, only the HIV that is found in blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk has been found to transmit the infection to others.

Aids can be transmitted from person to person in many ways:

  • By unprotected intercourse with an infected person
  • By Blood transfusion
  • From mother to a child (By birth), it can also be spread by breastfeeding
  • Through oral sex, in some cases it can possible by deep kissing
  • By the use of hypodermic needles
  • Artificial insemination with denoted semen infected with HIV
  • Through a donated organ received from an infected donor

Symptoms of AIDS

Aids can be transmitted from person to person in many ways:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Recurring fever or extreme night sweats
  • Sore throat
  • Extreme tiredness, Muscles and joint pain

Prevention of AIDS/HIV:

  1. Avoid sexual intercourse with any of the following: 
    • People infected or suspected to be infected with AIDS
    • Multiple partners
    • A person who has multiple partners
    • A person who takes IV drugs
  2. Do not use intravenous drugs
  3. Avoid exposure to blood when the HIV status of the bleeding person is unknown
  4. The HIV positive person should not donate blood, plasma, sperm and body organs
  5. HIV positive women should take the required precaution and medications to reduce the chances of infection to the unborn children
  6. HIV positive women should not breast feed
  7. Safe sex practices like use of latex condoms should be adopted

Check for More info on WHO Website: https://www.who.int/health-topics/hiv-aids/