AIDS stands for: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
AIDS is a medical condition. A person is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system is too weak to fight off infections.
AIDS is caused by HIV.
HIV is a virus that gradually attacks immune system cells. As HIV progressively damages these cells, the body becomes more vulnerable to infections, which it will have difficulty in fighting off. It is at the point of very advanced HIV infection that a person is said to have AIDS. If left untreated, it can take around ten years before HIV has damaged the immune system enough for AIDS to develop.
The virus can be spread (transmitted):
- Through sexual contact -- including oral, vaginal, and anal sex
- Through blood -- via blood transfusions (now extremely rare in the U.S.) or needle sharing
- From mother to child -- a pregnant woman can transmit the virus to her foetus through their shared blood circulation, or a nursing mother can transmit it to her baby in her breast milk
HIV infection is NOT spread by:
- Casual contact such as hugging
- Participation in sports
- Touching items that were touched by a person infected with the virus
People at highest risk for getting HIV include:
- Injection drug users who share needles
- Infants born to mothers with HIV who didn't receive HIV therapy during pregnancy
- People engaging in unprotected sex, especially with people who have other high-risk behaviours, are HIV-positive, or have AIDS
- People who received blood transfusions or clotting products between 1977 and 1985 (before screening for the virus became standard practice)
- Sexual partners of those who participate in high-risk activities (such as injection drug use or anal sex)
AIDS begins with HIV infection. People who are infected with HIV may have no symptoms for 10 years or longer, but they can still transmit the infection to others during this symptom-free period. If the infection is not detected and treated, the immune system gradually weakens and AIDS develops.
Almost all people infected with HIV, if they are not treated, will develop AIDS. There is a small group of patients who develop AIDS very slowly, or never at all. These patients are called non progressors, and many seem to have a genetic difference that prevents the virus from significantly damaging their immune system.
The symptoms of AIDS are mainly the result of infections that do not normally develop in people with a healthy immune system. These are called opportunistic infections.
People with AIDS have had their immune system damaged by HIV and are very susceptible to these opportunistic infections.
Common symptoms are:
- Sweats (particularly at night)
- Swollen lymph glands
- Weight loss
Note: At first, infection with HIV may produce no symptoms. Some people, however, do experience flu-like symptoms with fever, rash, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes, usually 2 - 4 weeks after contracting the virus. Some people with HIV infection stay symptom-free for years between the times when they are exposed to the virus and when they develop AIDS.
CD4 cells are a type of T cell. T cells are cells of the immune system. They are also called "helper cells."
The following illnesses are
Common with a CD4 count below 350 cells/mm3:
- Herpes simplex virus -- causes ulcers/small blisters in the mouth or genitals, happens more often and usually much more severely in an HIV-infected person than in someone without HIV infection
- Herpes zoster (shingles) -- ulcers/small blisters over a patch of skin, caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox
- Kaposi's sarcoma -- cancer of the skin, lungs, and bowel due to a herpes virus (HHV-8). It can happen at any CD4 count, but is more likely to happen at lower CD4 counts, and is more common in men than in women.
- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma -- cancer of the lymph nodes
- Oral or vaginal thrush -- yeast (typically Candida albicans) infection of the mouth or vagina
- Tuberculosis -- infection by tuberculosis bacteria mostly affects the lungs, but can also affect other organs such as the bowel, lining of the heart or lungs, brain, or lining of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord)
Common with CD4 count below 200 cells/mm3:
- Bacillary angiomatosis -- skin sores caused by a bacteria called Bartonella, which may be caused by cat scratches
- Candida esophagitis -- painful yeast infection of the oesophagus
- Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia, "PCP pneumonia," previously called Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, caused by a fungus
Common with CD4 count below 100 cells/mm3:
- AIDS dementia -- worsening and slowing of mental function, caused by HIV
- Cryptococcal meningitis -- fungal infection of the lining of the brain
- Cryptosporidium diarrhoea -- Extreme diarrhoea caused by a parasite that affects the gastrointestinal tract
- Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy -- a disease of the brain caused by a virus (called the JC virus) that results in a severe decline in mental and physical functions
- Toxoplasma encephalitis -- infection of the brain by a parasite, called Toxoplasma gondii, which is often found in cat feces; causes lesions (sores) in the brain
- Wasting syndrome -- extreme weight loss and loss of appetite, caused by HIV itself
Common with CD4 count below 50/mm3:
- Cytomegalovirus infection -- a viral infection that can affect almost any organ system, especially the large bowel and the eyes
- Mycobacterium avium -- a blood infection by a bacterium related to tuberculosis
There is no cure for AIDS at this time. However, a variety of treatments are available that can help keep symptoms at bay and improve the quality of life for those who have already developed symptoms.
Symptomatic Homeopathy medicines may helps to relief the symptoms and helps to improve the immune system. Even no cure in Homeopathy itself, but Homeopathy medicines works without any side effect
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