What Is HIV?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus 人类免疫缺陷病毒. It is a virus that can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), if not treated. Unlike some other viruses, human body can’t get rid of HIV completely, even with treatment. So, if we are contaminated with HIV, we will be having it for life. *Touch Wood*
HIV attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells the T cells, which help the immune system to fight off infections. If leave untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 in the body, making the person more likely to get other infections or infection-related cancers. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. These opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS, the last stage of HIV infection.
What is AIDS?
AIDS is the most severe phase of HIV infection. People with AIDS have badly damaged immune systems that they get an increasing number of severe illnesses, called opportunistic infections.
The symptoms of HIV can vary greatly from person to person. No two people with HIV will likely experience the exact same symptoms. However, HIV will generally follow this pattern:
Acute Illness – People who contract HIV experience flu-like symptoms within 2-4 weeks. This flu-like illness is known as acute HIV infection (The worst flu ever!)
Asymptomatic Period – After the initial symptoms disappear, HIV may not cause any additional symptoms for months or years. A person at this stage won’t feel or look sick, but the virus is still active. They can easily transmit the virus to others. This is why early testing, even for those who feel fine, is so important.
Advanced Infection – It may take some time, but HIV may eventually break down a person’s immune system. Once this happens, HIV will progress to stage 3 HIV also referred as AIDS. AIDS is the last stage of the disease. A person at this stage has a severely damaged immune system, making them more susceptible to opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections are conditions that the body would normally be able to fight off, but can be harmful to people who have HIV. People living with HIV may notice that they frequently get colds, flu, and fungal infections.
Is There a Cure for HIV?
Currently, there is no effective cure for HIV. But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled.
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