HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus which attack the immune system of the person it infects until the system is so damaged that it is unable to fight off the simplest of infections. In the early stages of the disease a person may find they have flu like symptoms, which disappear after 2-4 weeks. After this they can very well be asymptomatic for up to 10 years. The likelihood that they have no symptoms is based on the nutrition, general health, and health practices of the person.
For instance if the person who is infected gets plenty of rest, good nutrition, meets the bodys need for vitamins and minerals, doesnt smoke, drink alcohol or do recreational drugs the length of time before symptoms occur will be greater than if they were malnourished in the beginning and had poor health habits.
Unfortunately, because the illness may go undetected these people can also be spreading the virus without knowing it. People who have the virus are able to transmit it to others immediate, before evening having a positive HIV test.
As the HIV infection progresses those who carry the virus will begin to develop more symptoms and experience fatigue. Some of those symptoms are an unexplained weight loss, diarrhea that lasts for several weeks, thrush, a persistent cough, persistent yeast infections in women, swollen lymph glands or fever and night sweats.
These symptoms are in the latter stages of HIV before the disease becomes full blown AIDS. AIDS, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, is a medical condition that describes the inability of the immune system to fight off common infections because it acquired a deficiency through an assault the HIV virus. AIDS isnt a disease or an illness but rather a description of an immune system unable to function.
As AIDS develops in the latter stages of HIV the person who is infected will develop wasting syndrome or even greater weight loss. The body wont be able to fight off infections and they will experience opportunistic infections such as chronic diarrhea, eye infections, pneumocystis pneumonia, mycobacterium, tuberculosis and toxoplasmosis. Other infections that are common to patients who have an AIDS condition is Kaposis sarcoma, cervical cancer and lymphoma.
To further define late stages of HIV the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies AIDS if a number of conditions indicating severe immunosuppression is present in a person with a T-cell count less than 200 cells per microliter or less than half of what is the bottom of the normal range.
Although the late stages of HIV are defined by the presence of AIDS related conditions it should be pointed out that HIV isnt the only illness that can give a person AIDS. AIDS develops when the immune system is compromised from an external source and not genetics. These external sources can be cancer or the treatment for cancer. However, in todays society the terms of HIV and AIDS are inextricably linked and often have come to mean different ends of the spectrum of the same disease.
Other late signs of HIV include dementia, global cognitive impairment, severe psychomotor retardation, reduced insight, denial and hallucinations. All of these particular signs are cognitive or mental in nature. Other signs may include spastic weakness, ataxia, myoclonus and seizures. These signs, though originating in the brain, are expressed through a deficit in motor function.
The rate of the progression of HIV dementia is variable. Some patients find that their symptoms deteriorate quickly over 3 6 months while others suffer a slower more steady pace over years. Researchers have found that those patients with a lower t-cell count, use of injection drug use or psychomotor slowing may experience more rapid progression of the neurological deficits.Free PDF Health Ebook...