WHAT IS HIV
What’s HIV ?
HIV (Human immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that can dramatically reduce the body’s immune system. This condition allows diseases, bacteria, viruses, and other infections to easily invade your body. Unlike other viruses, HIV cannot disappear completely from your body.
HIV infection that is not immediately treated will develop AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). AIDS is the worst condition of HIV disease. AIDS is characterized by the emergence of other diseases, such as various infections that occur along with the weakening of your immune system.
HIV transmission occurs when blood, sperm, or vaginal fluid from an infected person enters another person’s body.
This can occur in various ways, including:
- Sexual intercourse, HIV infection can occur through good vaginal intercourse or rectum (anal). Although very rare, HIV can also be transmitted through oral sex. However, transmission through oral sex will only occur if there is an open wound in the patient’s mouth, such as bleeding gums or canker sores.
- Sharing needles, Sharing the use of needles with people with HIV, is one way that can make someone infected with HIV. For example using a shared syringe when making tattoos, or when using injectable drugs.
- Blood transfusion, HIV transmission can occur when someone receives blood donors from HIV sufferers.
In addition through the various methods above, HIV can also be transmitted from pregnant women to the fetus they contain. The HIV virus can also be transmitted in the process of childbirth, or through breast milk during the breastfeeding process.
Pay attention, daily contact as below will not make you infected:
- Hugging or kissing
- Coughing and sneezing
- Using a swimming pool or toilet seat
- Share bed sheets
- Tableware or food
- Mosquitoes, or other insects
Usually the initial symptoms of HIV are similar to flu symptoms. Here are some features of HIV that generally mark viral infections in the early stages::
- Continuous fatigue
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sore throat
- Skin rashes
- Pain in muscles and joints
- Mouth sores
- Wounds on intimate organs
- Often Sweating at night
The initial symptoms of HIV generally occur within 1 to 2 months after being infected. Even according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, some people can be seen in the first two weeks after exposure. However, these initial symptoms are not shown to everyone. There are some people who just don’t show these signs, but they are infected with HIV. That’s why testing of the HIV virus is very important.
Infection Phase HIV
First phase HIV
Also known as primary HIV infection or also called acute retroviral syndrome. At this stage, most people experience flu-like symptoms. The symptoms are also often similar to gastrointestinal or respiratory tract infections.
This is the clinical latent stage. The virus becomes less active, even though it is still in your body. You don’t experience any symptoms when the virus develops. This latency period can last a decade or more. In a latent period that can last up to ten years many people do not show any symptoms. This stage should be watched out because the virus will continue to grow without realizing it.
Last phase HIV
The last phase of HIV is AIDS. In this final phase, the immune system is severely damaged and prone to opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections are infections that attack people with a poor immune system.
When HIV has developed into AIDS, symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and new fever can be seen. In addition, weight loss, nail infections, headaches and frequent sweating on days also mark AIDS at an early stage.
Early detection of HIV
To find out if you are infected with HIV, you can do it through a blood test. Check your HIV status at a doctor or clinic that has a special laboratory. In fact, at this time you can detect early at home with a tool called One Step HIV TEST which is already widely available at online sales or pharmacies. The tool can read your HIV status through blood samples in 10 to 15 minutes.
Every person who is sexually active (ever and / or frequently having sex) needs to undergo a test if he has had risky sex, such as unprotected sex. Couples who plan marriage and pregnancy, and pregnant women also need to undergo tests if they are at high risk of HIV.
You are advised to take the first test at least after 3 months of risky sexual activity to determine whether you have contracted HIV. The second test is carried out after 3 months of the first test if the results show a nonreactive (negative) result, the latter being done three months after the second test.
Remember: getting negative results from the first test does not mean you are free of HIV. The body will generally begin to form antibodies around three weeks to 3 months after first contracting the HIV virus. This period is called the window period, which can last up to 42 days. However, how fast the body forms antibodies can differ from one person to another. There are those that take longer or even faster than three months.
Therefore, you will be recommended to undergo a follow-up test every 3 months to confirm the diagnosis.
To protect yourself from HIV infections, you need to understand well how HIV transmission can occur. That way, prevention can also be done.
- Perform safe sex, namely by using a condom
- Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs
- Never share needles or syringes
- Avoid touching the blood and body fluids of other people
- Apply a healthy lifestyle
- Do exercise and take regular breaks
- Routinely check HIV if doing risky behavior (can be with a tool such as One Step HIV Test as initial detection or see a doctor)
Especially for pregnant women, you will be offered a blood test for HIV as part of an obstetric examination. If not addressed, HIV can be passed from pregnant women to babies during pregnancy, labor or breastfeeding. HIV therapy during pregnancy reduces the risk of HIV transmission to the baby.
Equipping yourself with knowledge of HIV is the best way to prevent the risk of HIV transmission and help people around you with the treatment process of the disease. It can also help people with HIV to live healthily and safely.