Munson Health
 
HIV Infection and AIDS

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by Alan R

(Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)

 

Symptoms

HIV may not cause symptoms for a number of years.
Early symptoms may appear a month or two after becoming infected. They may last a couple of weeks and be similar to the flu or mononucleosis. These include:
After these initial symptoms pass, there may be no symptoms for months to years. The following symptoms may occur over the years:
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle wasting
  • Swollen lymph glands all over the body
  • Memory loss
  • Development of lots of warts
  • Fungal infections of the mouth, fingernails, toes
  • Repeated vaginal infections
  • Flare-ups of prior conditions, such as eczema , psoriasis , or herpes
  • Chronic diarrhea
If left untreated, HIV infection progresses to AIDS. This may happen when the number of T helper cells fall below certain levels and opportunistic infections arise. People with AIDS are susceptible to many health complications. These may include:
 

Prevention

In general, to reduce your chances of getting HIV infection, take these steps:
  • Abstain from sex or limit your number of sexual partners.
  • Use a latex condom every time you have sex.
  • Avoid sexual partners who are HIV-infected or injection drug users.
  • Do not share needles for drug injection.
  • Talk to your partner about any sexually transmitted infections you or your partner have.
  • Let your doctor know if you share needles or have sex with someone who has HIV. Your doctor may want to start medication to help prevent an HIV infection from developing.
If you are a health care worker or work in a correctional facility, take these steps:
  • Wear appropriate gloves and facial masks during all procedures.
  • Carefully handle and properly dispose of needles.
  • Carefully follow universal precautions.
If you live in a household with an HIV-infected person, take these steps:
  • Wear appropriate gloves if handling HIV-infected bodily fluids.
  • Cover all cuts and sores, yours and the HIV-infected person's, with bandages.
  • Do not share any personal hygiene items such as razors, toothbrushes, etc.
  • Carefully handle and properly dispose of needles used for medication.
If you are infected with HIV, take these steps to prevent spreading HIV to others:
  • Abstain from sex.
  • If you do have sex, use a latex condom every time. This includes any sexual act that results in the exchange of bodily fluids. Options to consider:
    • A female condom may be used. Male condoms are better studied for HIV prevention but a female condom is better than no protection.
    • Use a dental dam (small square of latex) or similar barrier during oral sex.
  • If you are prescribed medications, be sure that you are taking them. Work with your doctor to monitor your viral load. Medications and low viral loads may decrease the chance of passing the infection.
  • Inform former or potential sexual partners about the infection. Encourage them to get tested.
  • Do not donate blood or organs.
  • If you are not planning a pregnancy, ask your doctor about contraception.
  • If you do wish to become pregnant, talk to your doctor. There are ways to lower your baby's risk of being born infected with HIV.
  • If you have a baby, do not breastfeed.
 

RESOURCES

American Foundation for AIDS Research
http://www.amfar.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

AIDS Committee of Toronto
http://www.actoronto.org

Canadian AIDS Society
http://www.cdnaids.ca

 

References


Guidelines for the use of antiretroviral agents in HIV-1-infected adults and adolescents. AIDS Info website. Available at: http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/contentfiles/AdultandAdolescentGL.pdf. Updated February 12, 2013. Accessed June 3, 2013.


HIV/AIDS: The basics. AIDS info website. Available at: http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/contentfiles/HIVAIDS%5FtheBasics.pdf. Updated August 2012. Accessed June 3, 2013.


HIV infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 21, 2013. Accessed June 3, 2013.


HIV transmission risk. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/law/pdf/HIVtranmsmision.pdf. Published July 2012. Accessed August 14, 2014.


Montaner JS. Treatment as prevention: a double hat-trick. Lancet. 2011 Jul 16;378(9787):208-209.


National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/nchstp.html. Updated March 7, 2013. Accessed June 3, 2013.


Primary HIV infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 13, 2013. Accessed June 3, 2013.


Preventing transmission of HIV. AIDS info website. Available at: http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/contentfiles/UnderstandingHIVPrevention%5FFS%5Fen.pdf. Updated August 2012. Accessed June 3, 2013.


Rey D, Krebs M, Partisani M, Hess G, et al. Virologic response of zidovudine, lamivudine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate combination in antiretroviral-naive HIV-1-infected patients. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2006;43: 530-534.


Ross LL, Parkin N, Gerondelis P, et al. Differential impact of thymidine analogue mutations on emtricitabine and lamivudine susceptibility. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2006;43(5):567-570.


Testing for HIV. AIDS info website. Available at: http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/contentfiles/TestingPositive%5FFS%5Fen.pdf. Updated August 2012. Accessed June 3, 2013.


Workowski KA, Berman S, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59(No. RR-12):1-110.


3/8/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Auvert B, Taljaard D, Lagard E, Sobngwi-Tambekou J, Sitta R, Puren A. Randomized, controlled intervention trial of male circumcision for reduction of HIV infection risk: the ANRS 1265 Trial. PLoS Med. 2005;2(11):e298. Epub Oct 25, 2005.
Bailey RC, Moses S, Parker CB, et al. Male circumcision for HIV prevention in young men in Kisumu, Kenya: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2007 Feb 24;369(9562):643-656.
Gray RH, Kigozi G, Serwadda D, et al. Male circumcision for HIV prevention in men in Rakai, Uganda: a randomised trial. Lancet. 2007 Feb 24;369(9562):657-666.


2/21/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mallal S, Phillips E, Carosi G, et al. HLA-B5701 screening for hypersensitivity to abacavir. N Engl J Med. 2008;358:568-579.


6/11/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Del Romero J, Castilla J, Hernando V, Rodríguez C, García S. Combined antiretroviral treatment and heterosexual transmission of HIV-1: cross sectional and prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2010:c2205.

 

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