7 Hard Facts Everyone Needs To Know About HIV

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This post will talk about the most important points about HIV/AIDS. To learn more about this disease, click on the blue links within this post. They will take you to more detailed information.

HIV is an STD that appeared in the late 1970s, and became an epidemic during the 1980s. Since it was a new infection, it took doctors and the public years to understand what it was, how it was transmitted, and how to prevent the disease.  Here are 7 hard facts everyone needs to know about HIV.

If you want to know more, keep reading.

What is HIV?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is an STD that affects the immune system of the body. If left untreated, HIV will progress into a disease called AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).  

The stages of HIV and the effect on the body

There are two stages to this disease. The first one is HIV. When the virus gets into the body, it goes after the white blood cells. These are the cells that defend the body against viruses and bacteria. 

What HIV will do is attack a white blood cell. Once inside the cell, it will make copies of itself (the HIV). When HIV has made enough copies of itself, it will destroy the white blood cell. Then these HIV copies will go out and attack other white bloods, and the cycle begins again.

Over the years, the amount of HIV cells will outnumber the white blood cells. Without the right amount of white blood cells, your body can’t fight off diseases as well. After years of this, your body will enter the second stage.

The second of this disease is AIDS. At this stage, your immune system is severely damaged, and it’s hard for your body to fight off illnesses. Your immunity is so low that the common cold could kill you. 

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How is HIV transmitted?

It is transmitted through unprotected anal and vaginal sex, blood products, and shared needles.

Also, if you are pregnant with HIV, the virus can be transmitted to your baby through vaginal birth and your breast milk

What are the symptoms?

Flu-like symptoms will set in about 2-6 weeks after infection, and lasts for about 1-2 weeks. Once those clear up, there may not be any more symptoms for years. 

Of course as your immune system goes down, you will have weight loss, recurrent infections, and life-threatening illnesses.

Is there treatment for HIV?

There is treatment, but not a cure. There are Antiretroviral drugs that work either alone or together to slow down HIV, so the body can repair itself. However once you get this disease, you have it for life.

If HIV is left untreated, it will become full-blown AIDS. Once that happens, your life expectancy goes way down. If using treatment, it could be years. Without any treatment, it could be as little as 12 months. 

How to reduce the chance of getting HIV

1) Limit the number of people you have sex with. The more people you have sex with, the bigger chance you’ll hook up with someone who is infected. The best relationship is a monogamous relationship with someone who has been tested and is free of HIV.

2) Choose less risky sexual behaviors and use a condom every time. Also, use them correctly each time you have sex. HIV is passed through bodily fluids.

3) Don’t inject drugs or share needles. HIV is passed through blood.

4) Don’t have sex or practice abstinence. The only safe sex is no sex.

5) Get tested and treated for HIV. 

The takeaway

There are hard facts everyone should know about HIV. It is a sexually transmitted disease that destroys the body’s immune system over time.

Also there are two stages to HIV infection. Stage 1 is the HIV infection. This stage could last for years, and you may or may not have symptoms.

If the infection is left untreated, the disease will become Stage 2 AIDS. At this point, your immune system is so damaged that if can’t protect you and any infection or illness could kill you.

Antiretroviral drugs can treat HIV, but they can’t cure it. There is no cure. If you have sex, use safer practices such as using condoms and be in a monogamous relationship where you and your partner are tested and free from HIV.

Just saying!

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