Probably one of the most dreaded diseases in this day and age is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. It can infect everyone, irrespective of age, weight, height, or nationality. It is classified as a pandemic disease due to its capability to rapidly spread from one individual to another.

There are basically two varieties of HIV --- the HIV-1 and the HIV-2. The HIV-1 is able to spread out more rapidly and is the reason for worldwide contamination.

Stages of HIV infection

Someone who is infected with HIV will go through at most four stages. These are the following:

  1. First Stage: The first stage is known as the incubation period. In this instance, zero recognizable signs or symptoms are suffered by the patient. It can persist for a couple of days and a few weeks.
  2. Second Stage: An afflicted person will begin demonstrating certain signs and symptoms like intense rashes, weakening muscles, sore throat, fever, mouth sores, and inflammation of the lymph nodes.
  3. Third Stage: This stage is known as the latency period. It can keep going for as long as several years, but if the patient goes through antiretroviral treatment, he or she can reduce the length to a few weeks. At this stage, the immune system begins to generate antibodies that will tackle the virus.
  4. Fourth Stage: This stage is when the affected person acquires AIDS. This normally happens when HIV is undiagnosed and untreated. AIDS patients also undertake antiretroviral treatment.

How HIV is spread

You might have asked yourself this query before: “How can I get HIV?” Actually, the popular belief is that only homosexual guys can be infected with the virus, and they are the only carriers of the virus. These are definitely not completely true. Both males and females can get HIV and possess the virus if they have been in sexual contact with someone else who is already afflicted with the virus. In addition to that, expecting mothers can also transmit the infection to their infants during the pregnancy term. Sharing of needles and blood transfusion can also allow the virus to go from one individual to another.

Prevention of HIV remains to be better than treating it, so everyone is urged to practice safe sex each and every time. Make use of protection when having sexual intercourse, and get you and your partners tested. By doing this, if one of you obtains a positive result, you or they can get medical attention while the infection is still in its initial stages.

When Should You Get An HIV Test?