AIDS is the abbreviated name of a disease that stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The disease is caused by a virus called HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The infection is also called "HIV Seroconversion Syndrome" or "Acute Retroviral Syndrome". The name has been made up from the words which indicate the characteristics of this disease:
How AIDS spreads
Known sources of spread are intimate sexual contact, use of infected needles and syringes for injection, use of infected razor, transfusion of infected blood or related products and through the placenta from the mother to the fetus. It rarely through breastfeeding, and possibly through oral contact if the infected person has open sores in the mouth or bleeding gums.
AIDS does not spread from casual contacts like shaking or holding hands, sitting with or hugging the infected person, sneezing and coughs, mosquitoes and flies or moving around with the infected person. So the sufferer does not have to be segregated, hated or discriminated. He should be treated and helped like other patients.
What happens after infection?
Infection from HIV and sickness from AIDS are two different things. It may take years before AIDS is developed but it is still not necessary that every person infected with HIV will inevitably progress to AIDS, though most of them do. There is a considerable period between infection and appearance of symptoms of AIDS, which may vary from few months to 10 years or even more depending on the health and strength of immune system of the person. During this period, the individual will have no symptoms at all. This is why it is called "symptom free period". In certain cases the body itself may eliminate the disease but this may happen in very few cases. During this symptom-free period, the blood test for HIV is not likely to be positive but one can infect other people.
Every disease has its own peculiar symptoms. Such symptoms may not be exactly same for every individual even though the name given to the diagnosed disease may be the same. It is true for nearly all the diseases because every individual is a unique entity; no two individuals are alike. Therefore, appearance, development and overall picture of symptoms vary from person to person. In most cases, people with weaker health and sensitive immune system may run in to complications earlier than others whereas some may go on for a much longer period with or without medication. The symptoms of HIV-AIDS appear in two stages; initial or early symptoms that appear soon after infection and later symptoms that appear when HIV has progressed to AIDS.
Early Symptoms of HIV / AIDS
Initially, the symptoms of infection resemble that of viral flu and those generally associated with flu. In certain cases, no symptoms may appear at all. In some cases, diarrhea (loose and watery) or vomiting may appear instead of flu while some persons may experience only nausea. These symptoms include:
- Flu, running nose and/or diarrhea
- Sore Throat
- Ulcers in mouth and esophagus
- Fatigue, feelings of general weakness and discomfort
- Anorexia (decreased or lost appetite)
- Swelling of lymph glands
- Muscular stiffness or aching (myalgia)
These symptoms appear few weeks after the first infection and generally disappear in a month or so. These are usually mistaken as some other viral infection. During this period, viral load in the body is high and spreads to different parts and organs of the body especially to the lymphoid tissue.
Later Stage Symptoms of HIV / AIDS
Initial symptoms disappear soon and the person usually remains symptom free for a long time. With the passage of time, HIV progresses to AIDS and the entire body is affected. Different symptoms begin to appear. As the disease progresses, all the three main systems namely nervous system, muscular system and glandular system are affected. Gradually this effect becomes more evident. Symptoms may appear anywhere in the body where these systems and related organs are present.
- In the initial stages of AIDS, fluids start leaving the body and the constitution may start drying up and give a withered look. The glands (particularly liver) may begin to enlarge (but not always) and tend to become hypo functional.
- As the disease progresses, the muscles tend to shrink and the body tends to thin out. In other words, one starts to lose weight involuntarily.
- Appetite disappears.
- Different types of skin symptoms may appear.
- Diarrhea becomes frequent.
- Dry cough becomes nearly persistent.
- In some cases thirst may abnormally reduce.
- Sensitivity to cold may increase considerably.
- Recurring fever.
- Swelling of lymph glands all over the body.
- Function of liver deteriorates considerably. In fact it starts to slow down right from the initial stages.
- Persistent low blood pressure. In some cases it might become high.
- Profound weakness without significant reasons.
- In the most advanced stages, ulcers, cancer anywhere in the body, tuberculosis, loss of hair and rectal symptoms may appear.
- Anxiety, persistent depression and gradual loss of memory.
It is not necessary that all of these symptoms will appear in everyone. Each individual will show up differently. This is why symptoms of AIDS have been described differently in different write-ups.
Last Stage Symptoms of HIV / AIDS
With the progress of disease, all the above mentioned symptoms aggravate, become more pronounced and serious taking a rapid course.
- Hemorrhage from anywhere in the body may become a common feature.
- Process of losing weight becomes rapid.
- Lack of energy becomes much pronounced.
- Skin symptoms like growths, herpes, nodosities, rash and dryness etc. aggravate and skin becomes very sensitive, prone to bruises without sufficient cause.
- Mouth and tongue become sore.
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea) increases. The sufferer feels exhausted even after least exertion.
- In short, all organs and systems suffer.
Prevention of HIV-AIDS
AIDS is a slow killer and it is commonly said that there is no definite cure for AIDS yet. So, the best option is to prevent the infection. Keep following points in mind and take special care.
- Avoid sexual contact with the infected person. Since you may not be sure whether or not the other person is infected, restrict your sexual activities to your genuine life partner. Free sexual activity can get you in trouble.
- Avoid injections. If it is unavoidable, use new (unused) needles and syringes.
- Do not allow blood transfusion or related products unless they are certified "clear of infection".
- Insist on use of a new razor when you go to the barber.
- If you are infected and you know it, please take care that others are not infected.
- As soon as you feel a persistent health problem, see your health care adviser immediately.
- If you live in high-risk areas, undergoing periodical medical check ups should not be a bad idea.
Living with HIV/AIDS
AIDS is a dangerous disease no doubt but more than that it is a dreaded disease. Due to the impression HIV and AIDS have in the public, worry and panic on positive diagnosis are not unnatural. Most of the affected persons in particular regions of the world try to hide the disease and secretly start looking for information and treatment taxing their nerves too much. They do so for fear of negative reaction from the society in general and near ones in particular as if being HIV positive was a crime.
If you are infected by HIV, the first thing you need to do is to face the reality and try to understand that AIDS is not the only dangerous disease in the world. There are many, many other diseases of which persons of all ages keep dying every day. When there was no AIDS, people died even then. If AIDS becomes quickly treatable, this planet would not become heaven and death would not disappear from here. It will remain as it is. The phenomenon of life and death will continue as long as the planet exists. Those who have no AIDS do not live forever; No one can. If you can understand this, you should stop worrying yourself beyond proportion. Rather than worrying yourself, you should go for regular treatment.
Treatment of HIV/AIDS
Many Internet searchers look for symptoms of AIDS and preventive measures, hardly for the treatment because general impression all over the world is that “there is no cure for AIDS and that the complications and advancement of symptoms can be delayed but cannot be stopped“. All that the sufferer gets is consolation, management, flood of advice, hopes or news but no cure. This is why majority does not even look towards alternative healing systems. If you are infected with HIV or have AIDS and are really interested in the treatment, you should not depend on just one system that out rightly says "NO cure". Do not give up.
There are many healing systems in use today with varying capabilities, merits and demerits but every healing system cannot do everything. Each of them has its own ways of working and philosophy. Homeopathy is very effective in treating HIV and AIDS; it might take few months though. If you want your HIV or AIDS cured, consult a homeopathic practitioner who really understands how to treat HIV / AIDS. Please remember that it is not to be treated by the name of the disease. We have the experience of successful treatment of HIV and AIDS.