What is HIV?(Human Immunodeficiency Virus)

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If It is not treated, it can lead to AIDS. There is currently no effective cure. Once people get HIV, they have it for life. But with proper medical care, It can be controlled.

Symptoms of HIV

The symptoms of Human Immunodeficiency Virus vary depending on the stage of infection. Though people living with HIV tend to be most infectious in the first few months after being infected, many are unaware of their status until the later stages. In the first few weeks after initial infection people may experience no symptoms or an influenza-like illness including fever, headache, rash, or sore throat.

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes — often one of the first signs of HIV infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Oral yeast infection (thrush)
  • Shingles (herpes zoster)
  • Pneumonia


Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus

It can be transmitted via the exchange of a variety of body fluids from infected people, such as blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal secretions. It can also be transmitted from a mother to her child during pregnancy and delivery. Individuals cannot become infected through ordinary day-to-day contacts such as kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing personal objects, food, or water.

It is important to note that people with HIV who are taking ART and are virally suppressed do not transmit HIV to their sexual partners.  Early access to ART and support to remain on treatment is therefore critical not only to improve the health of people with HIV but also to prevent Human Immunodeficiency Virus transmission.

Causes of Human Immunodeficiency Virus

  • Having unprotected anal or vaginal sex.
  • Having another sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and bacterial vaginosis.
  • Sharing contaminated needles, syringes, and other injecting equipment and drug solutions when injecting drugs.
  • Receiving unsafe injections, blood transfusions and tissue transplantation, and medical procedures that involve unsterile cutting or piercing.
  • Experiencing accidental needle stick injuries, including among health workers.

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