HIV stands for human immunodeficiency
virus. It is the virus that can lead to AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency
virus. The body can clear most viruses from the body, however that is not
the case for HIV/AIDS. There is no
known cure for HIV.
HIV infects the body and replicates
weakening the immune system. HIV affects specific cells of the immune
system called CD4 cells or T cells. If HIV is not treated in time HIV can
diminish so many of the T cells that the body will be unable to fight against
infections. When this occurs HIV infection could lead to AIDS.
Knowing your status earlier can get
you the treatment you need sooner so your body will better fight off infection
and you can manage your viral load.
How HIV/AIDS is Contracted
HIV/AIDS is spread by blood, semen,
pre-seminal fluid, vaginal fluids, rectal/anal mucous and breast
milk. Bodily fluids such as feces, nasal fluid, saliva, tears, urine or vomit
cannot transmit HIV. It is important to protect yourself if you are
sexually active. The most effective way to protect from HIV/AIDS is
HIV is transmitted through oral sex,
vaginal sex, and anal sex. If your
partner has HIV/AIDS the virus can be transmitted into your bloodstream through
microscopic breaks or rips in the delicate linings of your vagina, vulva,
penis, rectum or mouth. s can
make you more susceptible to contracting HIV.
Open sores are common with herpes and syphilis and can provide an entry
way for HIV/AIDS.
Pregnancy, childbirth or
breastfeeding can potentially spread HIV to your child. HIV Positive mothers should avoid
breastfeeding to prevent transmitting HIV to the child. Injection drug use can put you and
others at risk. This can expose others to HIV. Also sharing any needles can
potentially place you at risk of HIV.
How Can I tell if I'm Infected
There are no definite symptoms to
signify you are infected with HIV/AIDS, however there are some symptoms that
could accompany your infection. The symptoms that could accompany your
infection are fever, rash, sore throat and enlarged lymph nodes. However
the only definite way to know your status is to get tested. It is
important to frequently get tested if you are sexually active. Love U,
Women and HIV/AIDS
Women have been affected by HIV/AIDS
since the beginning of the epidemic.
Today, women account for 1 in 5 (20%) new HIV infections in the U.S.
Women of color, particularly B lack women have been especially hard hit and
represent the majority of women living with the disease and women newly
infected. As with people with HIV
overall, most women with HIV are not in regular care and only a quarter are
virally suppressed. Women with and at
risk for HIV face several challenges to getting the services and information
they need, including socioeconomic and structural barriers, such as poverty,
cultural inequities, and sexual violence, and women may place the needs of
their families above their own. In
addition, women also experience different clinical symptoms and complications
due to HIV disease.
Today, of the more than 1.1 million
people living in the U.S., nearly 280,000, or 24% are women.
Most women are infected through
heterosexual sex (84% of new HIV infections in 2010.)
Coping with your Diagnoses
It's important to find a doctor you trust after
uncovering your diagnoses. Sharing your
status may seem like a daunting task, however sharing
with loved ones will aid in building a support system. It's also important to notify past sex
partners so they can be tested. Depression can accompany your diagnoses with
HIV. Therefore it is very important you
connect with a therapist to aid in coping with your diagnoses to ensure you are
dealing with it in a healthy manner. Some symptoms of depression are:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sleeping frequently
- Decreased interest or pleasure in activities
- Loss of energy
- Change in appetite and weight
- Poor concentration and memory
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Difficulty functioning and making decisions
- Hearing voices or belief part of the body is dead
- Suicidal thoughts
- frequently crying
- feeling hopeless
If you are experiencing these feelings seek out help.