HIV

Overview

AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a condition caused by infection with the HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus. As the name suggests, the virus damages the immune system, and it does so, so severely, that the patient becomes very weak and susceptible to multiple opportunistic infections.

Causes

The disease spreads via the following ways:

  • By sexual contact (exchange of fluids)
  • By blood transfusions
  • From mother to fetus
  • Breastfeeding
  • By sharing needles

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of this infection itself are not very severe, and can be as common as the following:

However, when the patient develops AIDS, many different infections and cancers, that usually don’t develop in individuals with a normal immune system, start to manifest in these patients. These infections and conditions are associated with the following symptoms:

  • Recurrent fever
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Persistent, unexplained fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Persistent mouth infections
  • Skin rashes
  • Gangrene

Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests:

  • Detection of HIV antigen in the blood
  • Detection of antibodies against HIV antigens in the blood
  • CD4 T cell count
  • Viral load (HIV RNA)

Treatment

Treatment is not curative, but it can slow down the progression of the disease. It is done by Anti-HIV drugs, some of them are listed below:

  • Non-nucleosidase reverse transcriptase inhibitors – Efavirenz, Etravirine, Nevirapine
  • Nucleosidase reverse transcriptase inhibitors – Tenofovir, Lamivudine, Stavudine, Abacavir
  • Protease inhibitors – Atazanavir, Darunavir, Indinavir
  • Integrase inhibitors – Raltegravir, Dolutegravir
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