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DISCOVER How Does HIV Impact the Body?

What result does HIV have on the body?
HIV attacks a specific type of immune system cell in the body. It's referred to as the CD4 helper cell or T cell. When HIV ruins this cell, it becomes harder for the body to combat off other infections.

When HIV is left without treatment, even a small infection such as a cold can be a lot more serious. This is since the body has difficulty reacting to new infections.

Not only does HIV attack CD4 cells, it likewise uses the cells to make more of the infection. HIV ruins CD4 cells by utilizing their replication equipment to develop brand-new copies of the infection. This ultimately causes the CD4 cells to swell and burst.

When the virus has actually destroyed a specific number of CD4 cells and the CD4 count drops below 200, an individual will have advanced to AIDS.

However, it's important to keep in mind that developments in HIV treatment have actually made it possible for many individuals with HIV to live longer, much healthier lives.

How is HIV sent?
HIV is transferred through contact with the following bodily fluids, from probably to lead to HIV transmission to least likely:

vaginal fluid
breast milk
Sex without a condom and sharing needles-- even tattoo or piercing needles-- can lead to the transmission of HIV. However, if an HIV-positive person has the ability to accomplish viral suppression, then they'll be unable to send HIV to others through sexual contact.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person has reached viral suppression when they have less than 200 copies of HIV RNA per milliliter of blood.

What are the stages of HIV?
HIV is categorized into 3 phases: severe HIV, persistent HIV, and AIDS.

HIV doesn't always increase quickly. If left without treatment, it can take years for a person's immune system to be affected enough to reveal signs of immune dysfunction and other infections. View a timeline of HIV signs.

Even without signs, HIV can still exist in the body and can still be transmitted. Getting adequate treatment that results in viral suppression stops the development of immune dysfunction and HELP. Adequate treatment likewise assists a broken body immune system to recover.

How does severe HIV affect the body?
Once a person agreements HIV, the acute infection happens right away.

Symptoms of the severe infection may occur days to weeks after the virus has been contracted. During this time, the virus is increasing quickly in the body, uncontrolled.

This initial HIV phase can lead to flu-like signs. Examples of these symptoms include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • rash
  • inflamed lymph nodes
  • tiredness
  • myalgias, or muscle pain

Nevertheless, not all people with HIV experience initial flu-like symptoms.

The influenza symptoms are due to the boost of copies of HIV and prevalent infection in the body. During this time, the quantity of CD4 cells starts to fall extremely rapidly. The body immune system then begins, triggering CD4 levels to rise as soon as again. Nevertheless, the CD4 levels may not go back to their pre-HIV height.

In addition to possibly causing symptoms, the severe stage is when people with HIV have the greatest opportunity of sending the infection to others. This is because HIV levels are really high at this time. The severe stage generally lasts between several weeks and months.

How does persistent HIV affect the body?
The chronic HIV stage is understood as the hidden or asymptomatic phase. Throughout this stage, an individual generally won't have as numerous signs as they did during the acute phase. This is due to the fact that the virus doesn't multiply as quickly.

However, an individual can still transmit HIV if the infection is left unattended and they continue to have a detectable viral load. Without treatment, the persistent HIV stage can last for several years before advancing to AIDS.

Advances in antiretroviral treatments have actually considerably enhanced the outlook for individuals living with HIV. With appropriate treatment, lots of individuals who are HIV-positive have the ability to accomplish viral suppression and live long, healthy lives. Learn more about HIV and life span.

How does AIDS impact the body?
A regular CD4 count varies from roughly 500 to 1,600 cells per cubic millimeter of blood (cells/mm3) in healthy adults, according to

An individual gets an AIDS diagnosis when they have a CD4 count of less than 200 cells/mm3.

A person might likewise receive an AIDS diagnosis if they've had an opportunistic infection or another AIDS-defining condition.

Individuals with AIDS are susceptible to opportunistic infections and common infections that might consist of tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, and pneumonia.

People with weakened body immune systems are also more prone to particular kinds of cancer, such as lymphoma and cervical cancer.

The survival rate for individuals with AIDS varies depending upon treatment and other elements.

What are the elements that impact illness progression?
The most crucial aspect affecting HIV development is the ability to achieve viral suppression. Taking antiretroviral treatment routinely helps lots of people slow the development of HIV and reach viral suppression.

Nevertheless, a range of elements affect HIV development, and some people advance through the stages of HIV more quickly than others.

Factors that affect HIV development can include:

Ability to achieve viral suppression. Whether someone can take their antiretroviral medications and achieve viral suppression is the most important factor by far.
Age when symptoms start. Being older can result in faster progression of HIV.
Health before treatment. If a person had other diseases, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis C, or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), it can affect their overall health.
Timing of diagnosis. Another important factor is how soon a person was diagnosed after they contracted HIV. The longer between their diagnosis and treatment, the more time the disease has to progress unchecked.
Lifestyle. Practicing an unhealthy lifestyle, such as having a poor diet and experiencing severe stress, can cause HIV to progress more quickly.
Genetic history. Some people seem to progress more quickly through their disease given their genetic makeup.
Some factors can delay or slow the progression of HIV. These include:

taking antiretroviral medications and achieving viral suppression
seeing a healthcare provider, as recommended, for HIV treatments
stopping the use of substances such as ethanol, methamphetamine, or cocaine
taking care of one's health, including having sex with condoms to prevent the acquisition of other STDs, trying to minimize stress, and sleeping regularly
Living a healthy lifestyle and seeing a healthcare provider regularly can make a big difference in a person's overall health.

How is HIV treated?
Treatments for HIV typically involve antiretroviral therapy. This isn't a specific regimen, but instead a combination of three or four drugs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has currently approved 40 different medications to treat HIV.

Antiretroviral therapy works to prevent the virus from copying itself. This maintains immunity levels while slowing the progression of HIV.

Before prescribing medication, a healthcare provider will take the following factors into consideration:

a person's health history
the levels of the virus in the blood
possible side effects
any pre-existing allergies
There are seven classes of HIV drugs, and a typical treatment regimen involves medications from different classes.

Most healthcare providers will start people with HIV on a combination of three medications from at least two different drug classes. These classes, from the most commonly prescribed to the least commonly prescribed, are:

nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs).
integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs).
non-nucleoside/non-nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs).
CCR5 antagonists (CCR5s).
fusion inhibitors.
post-attachment inhibitors, a new drug class not in significant use yet.
How can HIV be prevented?
HIV doesn't cause a lot of outward or noticeable symptoms until the disease has progressed. For this reason, it's important to understand how HIV is transmitted and the ways to prevent transmission.

HIV can be transmitted by:.

having sex, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex.
sharing needles, including tattoo needles, needles used for body piercing, and needles used for injecting drugs.
coming into contact with body fluids, such as semen, vaginal fluid, blood, and breast milk.
HIV is not transmitted by:.

breathing the same air as a person living with HIV.
getting bitten by a mosquito or other biting insect.
hugging, holding hands with, kissing, or touching a person living with HIV.
touching a door handle or toilet seat that's been used by an HIV-positive person.
Keeping this in mind, some of the ways a person can prevent HIV include:.

practicing the abstinence method by refraining from oral, anal, or vaginal sex.
always using a latex barrier, such as a condom, when having oral, anal, or vaginal sex.
avoiding sharing needles with other people.
Healthcare providers usually recommend that people get an HIV test at least once a year if they've had sex without condoms or shared needles with anyone in the past. People with past exposure to HIV would also benefit from episodic testing.

If a person has been exposed to HIV within the past 72 hours, they should consider post-exposure prophylaxis, otherwise known as PEP. People with ongoing exposure to HIV may benefit from pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and regular testing.

Symptoms can take years to appear, which is why it's so important to get tested regularly.

What's the takeaway?
Advances in HIV treatments mean that people are living longer with the condition than ever before. Getting tested regularly and taking good care of one's health can reduce transmission.

If HIV is contracted, getting early treatment can prevent further transmission to others as well as progression of the disease. Treatment is vital to prevent the disease from progressing to AIDS.

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