HIV is an abbreviation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS as it is generally called, is the result of this virus. When a person has AIDS, the immune system gradually breaks downs. The patient then becomes highly susceptible to infections and illnesses, which could even, be fatal. History dates its origin to June 5th 1981 in Los Angeles where the virus was found in five homosexual men. It was then called GRID or Gay-Related Immune Deficiency because people thought it only affected homosexual people. This theory was soon blown to pieces when cases were reported from all over. Today, AIDS has reached epidemic proportions. It has plagued most countries around the world and is considered a highly dangerous disease.
To gain a better understanding of HIV, we must first explore how it is transmitted.
a. HIV is a sexually transmitted disease. What does this mean? The mucous membrane lines different parts of the body such as the lips, genital areas, nostrils etc. When the mucous membrane comes in contact with sexual secretions of an infected HIV patient, the virus transfers from one to another. This is why the main cause for the spread of AIDS is unprotected sexual intercourse.
b. HIV is also transmitted through infected blood. Therefore, one has to take extreme precaution when undergoing blood transfusions. It is always advisable to go to a reputed hospital or clinic where infected syringes are not used. Intravenous drug users and hemophiliacs are at high risk to get HIV.
c. HIV can be transmitted from a mother to a child either in the womb, during childbirth or duing breast-feeding. The chances of this happening have been reduced with drugs and other procedures.
Some of the early symptoms include sinusitis, bronchitis, otitis, pharyngitis, weight loss, dry cough, unexplained fatigue, unusual blemishes on the tongue, herpes zoster and oral ulcerations. During the advanced stages patients may have chronic diarrhea, continuous fever, extreme weight loss, oral hairy leukoplakia and candidiasis and pulmonary tuberculosis.
It is extremely important for people to be tested for HIV. In some communities, partners are required to take the HIV test prior to marriage. This is because it not only affects the infected individual but also can spread to the spouse and the unborn child. It is difficult telling someone you love that you have AIDS. However, is very vital for their health and safety.
Doctors, nurses and Medicare professionals are also exposed to this virus as they deal with syringes and needles on a daily basis. If you have AIDS and if you are looking for a doctor, then do some preliminary research on the doctor before you meet him or her. The doctor should be reliable and must be aware of the nuances of the field. You should choose a doctor who you are comfortable with.