HIV – Aids

HIV Cases among drug users
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a sexually transmitted disease that attacks the body’s immune system. This virus attacks T4 cells which are vital in fighting off illnesses. It eventually overpowers these cells and the body becomes unable to fight infections and diseases.

Early symptoms of HIV are seen when the body starts to build antibodies to the virus anywhere between six weeks and three months following the infection of the virus. Flu-like symptoms are seen early with the infection and include rashes, fevers, body aches and swollen glands and lymph nodes. However, most people do not experience the first signs of symptoms.

As the HIV infection progresses, the person with the infection grows more susceptible to infections and illnesses that usually do not affect someone who is healthy. Many of these illnesses can be treated, but those who have HIV many times have such weakened immune systems that the typical cure will fail. Without any type of treatment, someone infected with HIV will develop AIDS within eight to ten years o­nce contracting the HIV infection. Taking medication will slow down its progression, but with treatment it may take ten to 15 additional years before AIDS develops.

Before HIV progress to AIDS, symptoms of the infection may become more severe and include:

~chronic thrush or yeast infections
~Night sweats
~Easy bruising
~Unexplained body rashes
~Extreme exhaustion
~Purplish lesions found inside the mouth or o­n the skin
~Unexplained weight loss
~Diarrhea lasting for a month or longer

When first identified in the 1980s, there were very few drugs to treat the HIV virus and the other infections that were associated with it. Since then, many medications have been manufactured to treat HIV/AIDS and the other infections. For many people, these treatments have now extended and improve their overall quality of life.