AIDS

The most advanced stage of the illness is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV attacks white blood cells in the body, weakening the immune system. This makes it easier to get illnesses such as TB, infections, and certain malignancies.

HIV and AIDS

  • HIV remains a major global public health issue, having claimed 40.1 million [33.6–48.6 million] lives so far with ongoing transmission in all countries globally; with some countries reporting increasing trends in new infections when previously on the decline. There were an estimated 38.4 million [33.9–43.8 million] people living with HIV at the end of 2021, two thirds of whom (25.6 million) are in the WHO African Region. In 2021, 650 000 [510 000–860 000] people died from HIV-related causes and 1.5 million [1.1–2.0 million] people acquired HIV. There is no cure for HIV infection. However, with access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, including for opportunistic infections, HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead
  • HIV infection has no known treatment. However, with access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care, including for opportunistic infections, HIV infection has been transformed into a manageable chronic health condition, allowing people living with HIV to live productive lives.

Overview

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an infection that attacks the body’s immune system. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the most advanced stage of the disease. HIV targets the body’s white blood cells, weakening the immune system. This makes it easier to get sick with diseases like tuberculosis, infections and some cancers. HIV is spread from the body fluids of an infected person, including blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal fluids. It is not spread by kisses, hugs or sharing food. It can also spread from a mother to her baby. HIV can be treated and prevented with antiretroviral therapy (ART). Untreated HIV can progress to AIDS, often after many years. WHO now defines Advanced HIV Disease (AHD) as CD4 cell count less than 200cells/mm3 or

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Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of HIV vary depending on the stage of infection. The disease spreads more easily in the first few months after a person is infected, but many are unaware of their status until the later stages. In the first few weeks after being infected people may not experience symptoms. Others may have an influenza-like illness including:

  • fever
  • headache
  • rash
  • sore throat.

The illness gradually depletes the immune system. This might result in additional indications and symptoms.

  • swollen lymph nodes
  • weight loss
  • fever
  • diarrhoea
  • cough.

The virus gradually weakens it.People with HIV who do not receive treatment may develop severe immune system illnesses. This might result in additional indications and symptoms.

  • tuberculosis (TB)
  • cryptococcal meningitis
  • severe bacterial infections
  • cancers such as lymphomas and Kaposi’s sarcoma

HIV aggravates other illnesses such as hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and mpox.

Transmission(AIDS)

HIV can be transferred through the interchange of bodily fluids from HIV-positive patients, such as blood, breast milk, sperm, and vaginal secretions. HIV can potentially be transferred during pregnancy and childbirth. People cannot acquire infected by normal daily contact, such as kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing personal items, food, or water.

It is vital to remember that HIV-positive persons who are on ART and are virally suppressed do not transfer HIV to their sexual partners. Early access to ART and assistance to stay on treatment are thus crucial not just for improving the health of persons living with HIV but also for preventing HIV transmission.

Risk factors

The following behaviours and conditions put persons at a higher risk of developing HIV:

  • having condomless anal or vaginal sex; having another sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and bacterial vaginosis; engaging in harmful use of alcohol and drugs in the context of sexual behaviour; sharing contaminated needles, syringes, and other injecting equipment and drug solutions when injecting drugs; receiving unsafe injections, blood transfusions

Diagnosis

Rapid diagnostic assays that yield same-day findings can be used to diagnose HIV. This considerably simplifies early diagnosis and treatment and care coordination. HIV self-tests can also be used to test individuals. However, no single test can provide a complete HIV positive diagnosis; confirmatory testing at a community centre or clinic by a qualified and trained health or community worker is required. Using WHO prequalified assays within a nationally authorised testing strategy and methodology, HIV infection can be identified with high accuracy.

The most commonly used HIV diagnostic tests identify antibodies generated by the individual as part of their immunological response to HIV. Most persons generate HIV antibodies within 28 days after infection. People go through the so-called window period during this time.

People who have received a positive diagnosis should be retested before beginning treatment and care to rule out any potential testing or reporting error. While testing for adolescents and adults has become more convenient and efficient, the same cannot be said for babies born to HIV-positive mothers. Rapid antibody testing is insufficient to detect HIV infection in infants under the age of 18 months; virological testing should begin at birth or at 6 weeks of age. New technologies are now available to perform this test at the point of care and provide same-day findings, therefore accelerating optimal treatment and care linkage.

Prevention

HIV is a disease that may be avoided.

Reduce your chances of contracting HIV by:

  • using a male or female condom during sex
  • being tested for HIV and sexually transmitted infections
  • having a voluntary medical male circumcision
  • using harm reduction services for people who inject and use drugs. 
  • Doctors may suggest medicines and medical devices to help prevent HIV, including:
  • antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), including oral PrEP and long acting products
  • dapivirine vaginal rings
  • injectable long acting cabotegravir.

ARVs can also be used to protect moms from spreading HIV to their children.

People who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and have no virus in their blood will not pass HIV to their sexual partners. Access to testing and ART is a critical component of HIV prevention.

Treatment

HIV infection has no known treatment. Antiretroviral medications are used to treat it because they prevent the virus from reproducing in the body.

Antiretroviral treatment (ART) does not cure HIV infection, but it does help a person’s immune system to strengthen. This aids in the battle against various illnesses.

ART is currently required to be taken every day for the remainder of a person’s life.

ART decreases the quantity of virus in a person’s body. This alleviates symptoms and helps people to lead full and healthy lives. People living with HIV who are on ART and have no virus in their blood will not transmit the virus to their sexual partners.

Pregnant women with HIV should have access to and use ART as soon as possible.

Antiretroviral medicines can prevent the illness in persons who do not have HIV.

When taken before suspected HIV exposures, it is referred to as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and when given after an exposure, it is referred to as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). When the risk of obtaining HIV is high, people can take PrEP or PEP; persons should seek counsel from a professional before taking PrEP or PEP.

treatment of aids

In the HIV response, advanced HIV disease remains a persistent issue. WHO is assisting nations in implementing enhanced HIV disease care packages in order to minimise sickness and mortality. Newer HIV drugs and short-course therapies for opportunistic infections such as cryptococcal meningitis are being developed, which may modify how individuals take ART and preventive medications, such as access to injectable formulations.

WHO response

For the period 2022-2030, global health sector strategies on HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections (GHSSs) guide the health sector in implementing strategically focused responses to achieve the goals of ending AIDS, viral hepatitis B and C, and sexually transmitted infections by 2030.

The GHSS recommends joint and disease-specific national activities that are supported by WHO and partners. They take into account past years’ epidemiological, technical, and contextual alterations, stimulate learning across disease areas, and generate chances to harness innovations and new information for successful disease responses. They advocate for a laser-like focus on reaching the individuals most impacted and at risk for each illness, as well as addressing disparities. They advocate for synergies in the context of universal health coverage and primary health care.

What Is HIV(AIDS)?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that targets immune cells, rendering a person more susceptible to other infections and disorders. It is communicated by contact with a person’s HIV-positive body fluids, most often during unprotected intercourse (sex without a condom or HIV medication to prevent or treat HIV) or through sharing injectable drug equipment.

If HIV is not treated, it can progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

The human body cannot eliminate HIV, and there is no effective HIV treatment. So, once you have HIV, you will have it for the rest of your life.
Fortunately, effective HIV treatment (known as antiretroviral therapy or ART) is available. HIV medication, when used as directed, can lower the quantity of

What Is AIDS?

AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection that happens when the body’s immune system is severely compromised by the virus.

In the United States, most persons with HIV do not acquire AIDS because taking HIV medication as prescribed prevents the illness from progressing.

A person with HIV is said to have developed AIDS when:

  • Their CD4 cell count falls below 200 cells per cubic millimetre of blood (200 cells/mm3). (CD4 numbers in people with a healthy immune system range between 500 and 1,600 cells/mm3.) OR, regardless of CD4 count, they develop one or more opportunistic infections.

People with AIDS generally live for roughly three years without HIV medication. Without treatment, someone with a deadly opportunistic disease has a one-year life expectancy. At this stage of HIV infection, HIV treatment can still aid patients and may even save their lives. People who begin HIV medication soon after contracting the virus, on the other hand, benefit more—which is why HIV testing is so important.

How Do I Know If I Have HIV?

To find an HIV testing location near you, use the HIV Services Locator.
HIV self-testing is also an option. Self-testing allows people to take an HIV test and find out their result in their own home or other private location. With an HIV self-test, you can get your test results within 20 minutes. You can buy an HIV self-test kit at a pharmacy or online. Some health departments or community-based organizations also provide HIV self-test kits for a reduced cost or for free. You can call your local health department or use the HIV Services Locator to find organizations that offer HIV self-test kits near you. (Contact the organization for eligibility requirements.)
Note: State laws regarding self-testing vary and may limit availability. Check with your health care provider for additional testing options.
Learn more about HIV self-testing and which test might be right for you.
The only definite way to tell if you have HIV is to be tested. The testing process is quite straightforward. You can request an HIV test from your doctor. They are also available at many medical clinics, substance addiction programmes, community health centres, and hospitals. If you test positive for HIV, you can be linked to HIV care and begin treatment as soon as possible. If you test negative, you now have the knowledge you need to take precautions against contracting HIV in the future.

Use the HIV Services Locator to find an HIV testing site near you.

Self-testing for HIV is also a possibility. Self-testing enables people to take an HIV test and receive their results in the privacy of their own home or another private location. With an HIV infection

What are the stages of HIV(AIDS)?

To find an HIV testing location near you, use the HIV Services Locator.
HIV self-testing is also an option. Self-testing allows people to take an HIV test and find out their result in their own home or other private location. With an HIV self-test, you can get your test results within 20 minutes. You can buy an HIV self-test kit at a pharmacy or online. Some health departments or community-based organizations also provide HIV self-test kits for a reduced cost or for free. You can call your local health department or use the HIV Services Locator to find organizations that offer HIV self-test kits near you. (Contact the organization for eligibility requirements.)
Note: State laws regarding self-testing vary and may limit availability. Check with your health care provider for additional testing options.
Learn more about HIV self-testing and which test might be right for you.
When HIV patients do not get therapy, they normally move through three phases. However, HIV treatment can slow or stop the progression of the disease. Because of advancements in HIV therapy, progression to Stage 3 (AIDS) is less prevalent now than it was in the early years of HIV.

  • People have a large amount of HIV in their blood and are very contagious.
  • Many people have flu-like symptoms.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms and think you may have been exposed to HIV, get tested.
  • This stage is also called asymptomatic HIV infection or clinical latency.
  • HIV is still active and continues to reproduce in the body.
  • People may not have any symptoms or get sick during this phase but can transmit HIV.
  • People who take HIV treatment as prescribed may never move into Stage 3 (AIDS).
  • Without HIV treatment, this stage may last a decade or longer, or may progress faster. At the end of this stage, the amount of HIV in the blood (viral load) goes up and the person may move into Stage 3 (AIDS).
HIV

How does HIV spread?

  • To find an HIV testing location near you, use the HIV Services Locator.
  • HIV self-testing is also an option. Self-testing allows people to take an HIV test and find out their result in their own home or other private location. With an HIV self-test, you can get your test results within 20 minutes. You can buy an HIV self-test kit at a pharmacy or online. Some health departments or community-based organizations also provide HIV self-test kits for a reduced cost or for free. You can call your local health department or use the HIV Services Locator to find organizations that offer HIV self-test kits near you. (Contact the organization for eligibility requirements.)
  • Note: State laws regarding self-testing vary and may limit availability. Check with your health care provider for additional testing options.
  • Learn more about HIV self-testing and which test might be right for you.
  • By engaging in unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse with an HIV-positive person. “Unprotected” denotes not using condoms or HIV treatment or prevention medication. This is the most typical method of transmission.
  • By distributing drug needles.
  • Contact with the blood of an HIV-positive individual.
  • During pregnancy, delivery, or nursing, from mother to infant.

What are the symptoms of HIV?

The first signs of HIV infection may be flu-like symptoms:

  • fever
  • Chills
  • Rash
  • Night sweats (heavy sweating during sleep)
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Mouth ulcers

Reference

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