HIV and AIDS – Dangerous But Not Always Fatal
HIV is a virus which attacks the immune system, and weakens your ability to fight infections and disease. It’s most commonly caught by having sex without a condom.
How can you contract HIV?
HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person, which includes semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood, and breast milk. It is a fragile virus and does not survive outside the body for long.
HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat or urine.
HIV is most commonly caught by having unprotected sex with an infected person. It can also be passed on from using infected needles and injecting equipment. Also, an infected mother can pass HIV onto her child during pregnancy, giving birth and by breastfeeding.
Can you catch HIV from kissing?
No, you can not catch HIV by kissing someone who has the virus, this is because the HIV virus particles are unable to survive in the saliva of an infected person.
How many live with HIV?
In 2013 there were approximately 35 million people world wide living with HIV, 3.2 million of those being children under 15. Roughly 19 million of these people do NOT know they are infected. This is why regular Sexual health testing is important as it can bring to light the infection.
Can HIV be cured?
Unfortunately there isnt a cure for HIV, BUT there are medicines that can help suppress the disease and help people live a normal life. Medication, known as antiretrovirals, work by stopping the virus replicating in the body, allowing the immune system to repair itself and preventing further damage. These medicines come in the form of tablets, which need to be taken every day. HIV is able to develop resistance to a single HIV drug very easily, but taking a combination of different drugs makes this much less likely. Most people with HIV take a combination of three antiretrovirals and it is vital that the medications are taken every day as recommended by your doctor.
Without treatment, the immune system will become severely damaged and life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and severe infections can occur. This is known as late-stage HIV infection or AIDS.
Home testing kits
A home testing kit has recently gone on sale in UK, and should be coming to Asset Chemist soon, this allows users to do the test in the privacy and comfort of their own home, if they are too embarrassed or scared to see a doctor. The test can give a result in 15 minutes from just a small drop of blood. This allows infected people to get treatment and prevent serious complications, And individuals successfully treated for HIV are less likely to pass the infection on.