Talk to a board certified doctor
in just a few minutes!

Frequently Asked Questions about AIDS (Part 1)

Written by Courteney

Posted on November 30, 2016 at 1:18 am

HIV/AIDS has caused over 35 million deaths globally since the virus first surfaced. The CDC estimates about 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV/AIDS, and what’s more is that 1 out of 8 of those infected don’t even know it. Because of this, AIDS awareness and screening is vitally important.

What is AIDS?

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the final and most serious stage of HIV infection. When a person contracts the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from another person or a contaminated needle it begins attacking the immune system’s CD4+ cells which renders the body unable to fight off infections. This can open up the person to many dangerous opportunistic infections and diseases (like cancer), which usually happens when AIDS sets in.

How Many HIV Positive People Develop AIDS?

Approximately 50% of those infected with HIV develop AIDS within 10 years. About 75% of HIV-positive people will develop AIDS before the 15-year mark of contracting HIV hits. There is a small percentage of HIV patients who manage to avoid steady immune system decline and can keep HIV in the early and moderate stages for much of their lives.

What is the Prognosis for AIDS?

While there have been excellent advancements in AIDS treatment and medications, there is still no cure so without treatment, AIDS is fatal. However, treatments like antiretroviral medications slow the progression of the disease, allowing AIDS patients to live a much longer and healthier life than ever before. 30 years ago, nearly everyone who contracted HIV/AIDS would be deceased within 5 years.

Does HIV/AIDS have symptoms?

Most people don’t experience symptoms early in the disease, however they may experience more cold symptoms than usual or a sore throat that isn’t attributed to anything else and doesn’t seem to go away. As the disease progresses, a person may experience such symptoms and complications as:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Aches and pains
  • Chronic cough
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Recurrent infections or colds

How is HIV Transmitted?

HIV cannot be contracted by giving an infected person a hug or handshake, or even sharing a drink. HIV can only be transmitted when any of an infected person’s bodily fluids aside from saliva,  (blood, semen, rectal or vaginal fluids or breast milk) comes in contact with:

  • a mucous membrane (found in the rectum, vagina, penis and mouth)
  • an open cut
  • the bloodstream

This can happen during any type of unprotected sex (rarely via oral sex, but it is possible), a blood transfusion, tattoo or injection with an HIV contaminated needle, or it can be passed from the mother to a baby during the birthing process. Very rarely transmission has occurred when an HIV-positive parent with a mouth sore has pre-chewed food for their baby or when an HIV-positive person and an HIV-negative person have engaged in deep kissing where one or both partners have open sores, from being bitten by an HIV-positive person or from skin-to-skin contact where open wounds from both the infected and non-infected person touch.

That concludes part 1, but keep an eye out for Part 2 to find out about prevention and screening next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!

 

Talk to a board certified doctor
just in few minutes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Try DocChat!

(2 Minute Registration)

https://app.docchat.io/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/apple.png

App Store

https://app.docchat.io/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/play.png

Google Play

https://app.docchat.io/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/amaz.png

Amazon

* Disclaimer: DocChat is intended as a complementary service to your primary care physician. It is intended for use by those seeking acute health care in non-emergency situations. DocChat does not prescribe DEA-controlled substances, narcotics, or drugs that may potentially be abused. DocChat is not a replacement for your primary care doctor and will only provide short-term prescriptions if medically necessary. If you have an emergency, call 911. If you have a chronic illness, please see your primary care physician. DocChat does not guarantee that our doctors will prescribe medication. DocChat reserves the right to refuse service to any patients it deems to be abusing the intended service or seeking prescriptions beyond a reasonable amount.