HIV is a virus that is attacking the immune system. It specifically targets a subset of T-cells known as white blood cells. Over time, the damage to the immune system makes fighting off infections and other diseases increasingly difficult for the body. 37 million people living with HIV according to the World Health Organization. In 2015 around 16 million people received HIV treatment.
If left untreated, HIV can progress to AIDS, also referred to as stage 3 HIV. Many HIV-positive people will not go on developing stage 3 HIV. The immune system is highly compromised in persons with stage 3 HIV. This facilitates the taking over of opportunistic infections and cancers and leads to deteriorating health. People who have stage 3 HIV and are not being treated for this typically survive for three years.
Although dry cough is a common symptom of HIV, it’s not enough reason to worry. Dry cough may occur occasionally for a variety of reasons. For example, sinusitis, acid reflux, or even a reaction to cold air can cause a cough.
If your cough persists you should see your doctor. They can determine if underlying causes do exist. Your doctor will perform a comprehensive examination which may include an X-ray in the chest to identify the cause. If you have HIV risk factors, your doctor might suggest you take an HIV test.
Any other HIV symptoms?
Other early HIV symptoms include:
- Symptoms similar to flu, such as fever above 100.4 ° F ( 38 ° C), chills or muscle pain
- Lymph node swelling in the neck and armpit
- decreased appetite
- A neck rash, face rash, or upper chest
In the early stages, some people may experience no symptoms. Others may have but one or two symptoms.
The immune system weakens as the virus progresses. More advanced HIV patients may experience the following:
- a vaginal yeast infection
- oral thrush, which can cause white patches prone to soreness and bleeding
- esophageal thrush, which can lead to difficulty swallowing
How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is spread by body fluids including:
- breast milk
- vaginal fluids
- rectal fluids
- pre-seminal fluid
When one of those body fluids gets into your blood, HIV is transmitted. This can happen through direct injection or through skin breakage or mucous membrane. Mucous membranes can be found at the penis , vagina, and rectum opening.
People who transmit HIV most commonly by one of these methods:
- having oral, vaginal, or anal sex not protected by condoms
- Sharing or reusing needles when injecting drugs or getting a tattoo
- During pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding (though many women living with HIV may get healthy, HIV-negative babies through good prenatal care)
HIV does not come in sweat, saliva, or urine. By touching them, or touching a surface they touched, you can not transmit the virus to someone.
Who is at risk for HIV?
HIV can affect anyone, whatever they may:
- sexual orientation
- gender identity
Some groups present a higher risk of contracting HIV than others.
- People who don’t have condoms
- People suffering from another sexually transmitted infection ( STI)
- People who take injection medicine
- Males having sex with men
To be in one or more of these groups does not mean you are going to get HIV. Your risk is determined in large part by your behavior.
How is HIV diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose HIV only by taking proper blood tests. The most common method is the immunosorbent assay (ELISA) associated with the enzymes. This test measures the presence of antibodies in your blood. If you are detecting HIV antibodies you can take a second test to confirm a positive result. This second test is known as immunoassay. If your second test also yields a positive result, your doctor will see you as being HIV-positive.
HIV negative testing can be done after exposure to the virus. This is because, after exposure to the virus, your body doesn’t produce antibodies immediately. If you have contracted the virus, then after exposure, these antibodies will not be present for four to six weeks. This period is sometimes referred to as the “window period.” You should be tested again in four to six weeks if you get a negative result and think you have been exposed to the virus.
How to Avoid HIV Transmission
People who spread HIV generally through sexual contact. If you are sexually active, your risk of contracting or spreading the virus may be reduced by doing the following:
Know your status. If you’re sexually active, get HIV and other STIs tested regularly.
Knows the HIV status of your partner. Before engaging in sexual activity, talk to your sexual partners about their status.
Use protections. Using a condom properly every time you’re having oral, vaginal, or anal sex can greatly reduce your risk of transmission.
Consider fewer sex partners. If you have multiple sex partners you are more likely to have an HIV or other STI partner. This may enhance your risk of contracting HIV.
Take pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP comes as an antiretroviral pill per day. According to a recommendation from the US Preventive Services Task Force, everybody at increased risk for HIV should take this medication. When buy prep online, we recommend safe healths pharmacy it is a trusted online pharmacy.
If you think you have been exposed to HIV, ask your doctor for prophylaxis (PEP) after exposure. This medication may decrease your risk of contracting the virus following possible exposure. You must use it within 72 hours of possible exposure for the best results.