HIV as a progression
HIV developing into AIDS is a progression. If you contract the virus, it can develop into AIDS which attacks your nervous system and is fatal over time. This dire scenario occurs only if HIV manages to overwhelm your immune system and lead to AIDS and a fatality. However, all is not lost. With many medical advances now in place, HIV and AIDS itself can be a very manageable illness. One of these treatments is antiretroviral therapy or ART.
What is ART?
Antiretroviral therapy is a modern form of treatment for HIV. Using ART can successfully stunt the multiplication of the HIV infection. Once multiplication is stunted or controlled, the HIV virus does not multiply and therefore does not overwhelm and leave your immune system helpless. This keeps the virus in check and keeps you from getting the fatal infections that can lead to fatality. Your body still manages to fend off the infections it needs to fend off. Another great plus of ART is that taking it can also prevent HIV from being transmitted to other people as well.
The Three Stages of HIV
There are three stages of HIV that one must look out for. These three stages are what a person infected with HIV go through. The periods of time through which the HIV virus go through these stages is very long, especially in the second stage. The periods could cover as much as decades. This makes HIV especially hard to spot and testing and treatment all the more essential.
This is the first stage of the HIV infection. There are no symptoms other than a very severe flu. The flu is often very intense and strong. Many have described it as being the worst flu they have ever experienced. It is also called the Acute Retroviral Syndrome or ARS. Eventually, the body gets to stabilize the virus and keep it dormant. However, the virus is strongly coursing through your blood at this point making infection to others highly probable at this point. At this stage, it is best to take ART.
Clinical Latency Stage
The second stage is the Clinical Latency stage where the virus lies dormant in the body. This period of dormancy can last as long as decades or as short as a few years. However, it is usually dormant for an average of 8-10 years. Even in this period of dormancy, the HIV virus can still be highly transmittable.
Full blown AIDS is the third stage. At this point, CD4 cells have fallen to dangerously low levels in the human body. The immune system is now severely damaged leaving the human body dangerously vulnerable to all kinds of illnesses. Normally small infections can be full-blown fatal conditions. This is because of the immune system’s much weakened and damaged state. This is the severe state that must be avoided. It is best to take ART before the disease progresses to this point and it is completely difficult.