Another major risk factor of getting infected with HIV is sharing needles and other equipment an HIV-positive person uses to inject drugs, whether they were prescribed by a doctor or illegal. For sanitation reasons, it is critical to not even reuse needles. Drug users are also categorized as high-risk individuals for acquiring HIV. People under the influence of alcohol and drugs tend to make irrational decisions, consequently the person is also at risk of getting other sexually transmitted diseases.
To understand The Natural history of HIV, is important to clarify that is a disease that does not weaken or kill the person immediately, but in a progressive manner. However, HIV without treatment can be converted to AIDS, which can lead to death, and the natural course of untreated HIV infections vary widely. The natural history of a HIV refers to what happens to the infected person without taking the ART. In the past decade, we have seen a considerable amount of interest in the identification of subgroups of HIV-positive persons who exhibit distinct patterns of disease progression. Several weeks after a person gets infected, the immune system then fights back. This process of producing antibodies to fight off HIV is called seroconversion.
During the “acute” or “early stage,” about 70% of people start having symptoms. These are usually flu-like symptoms, including fevers and fatigue. Some people are hospitalized with very serious infections. A high viral load means that someone is very infectious. Seroconversion symptoms usually resolve after a week or two, but some people are asymptomatic. Over the next few months, the immune system can reduce the viral load without ART, but rarely to undetectable levels. Then, over several years, the viral load steadily increases again
The third stage of HIV is known as AIDS. However, not all those infected with HIV necessarily progress to the stage of AIDS. This is usually when your CD4 T-cell number drops below 200. You can also be diagnosed with AIDS if you have an “AIDS defining illness” such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, a form of skin cancer that occurs in most people infected with AIDS.
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