What Is AIDS?
AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a final stage of fatal, infectious, immunological disorder, which is caused by a rapidly transmuting retrovirus, human immunodeficiency virus known as HIV. It is a condition identified by illness that shows a reduced immune response in a healthy person. The infection may not cause disease for a longer period of time; however, gradually, it weakens the immune system of the body making it susceptible to infections. The human immune system is fatally depressed by the disease.
How It Spreads?
The virus is contagious through some body fluids and is mainly passed on through sexual behavior and administering drugs within the vein. The risk of getting infected is greater when the virus enters through anus, broken skin, vagina, penis, ulcers, especially the ones, due to sexually transmitted diseases, shared needles and traumatic wound and during the time of childbirth.
After three to six weeks after the virus is contacted, one can feel the symptoms like flu-like illness with fever, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, nausea, engorged lymph node etc which is called acute HIV syndrome. AIDS symptoms include lack of energy, rapid loss of weight, frequent fever and sweat, thick coating of tongue and mouth, headaches or lightheadedness or dizziness during the periods in addition to fatigue, easy bruising of the skin, long lasting diarrhea, deep dry coughing, shortness of breath, etc.
HIV or AIDS- How to Find Out the Stages?
The signs of AIDS include low number of CD4 cells also called T4 cells, which may get down as low as below 200. The normal value of a healthy uninfected individual ranges between 500 and 1500. There will be frequent of severe vaginal infections, formation of frequent skin rashes etc. Based upon the number of T4 cells and the occurrence of some conditions and infections, it can be diagnosed whether the HIV infestation has advanced to AIDS.
There are three conditions after the invasion of the virus. They are asymptomatic, symptomatic and AIDS, in which the CD4 cell count is > 500/mm3, 200 to 499/mm3 and <200/mm3 respectively. In the initial asymptomatic stage, the symptoms are not prominent. The symptoms of HIV will begin to show up in symptomatic stage. One or more infections and conditions indicative of HIV infection advanced to AIDS can be found in the extreme condition, where CD4 cell count is less than 200. Cancers like Kaposi’s sarcoma, lymphoma, cervical cancer etc are indicative of development of AIDS. The common opportunistic infections are fungal infections like yeast infections, bacterial infections like tuberculosis, viral infections like herpes simplex and parasitic infections like toxoplasmosis.
HIV symptoms are the ones that occur before the advanced stage of AIDS. The opportunistic infections that are related to HIV symptoms include symptoms of depression, swollen lymph nodes, disorders of Gastro intestinal tracts, diseases of respiratory system, skin and mucous membrane infections, skin rashes, neurological and emotional disturbances etc. The only way to find out the infestation of HIV is testing for HIV infection and it is better not to rely only on the symptoms, since they may not appear even after infestation.