HIV / AIDS
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body's ability to fight infection and disease.
HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding. Without medication, it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS.
HIV is a virus that damages the immune system. The immune system helps the body fight off infections. Untreated HIV infects and kills CD4 cells, which are a type of immune cell called T cells. Over time, as HIV kills more CD4 cells, the body is more likely to get various types of infections and cancers.
AIDS is a disease that can develop in people with HIV. It’s the most advanced stage of HIV. But just because a person has HIV doesn’t mean they’ll develop AIDS.
HIV kills CD4 cells. Healthy adults generally have a CD4 count of 500 to 1,500 per cubic millimeter. A person with HIV whose CD4 count falls below 200 per cubic millimeter will be diagnosed with AIDS.
A person can also be diagnosed with AIDS if they have HIV and develop an opportunistic infection or cancer that’s rare in people who don’t have HIV. Without treatment, a person with HIV is likely to develop a serious condition called AIDS. At that point, the immune system is too weak to fight off other diseases and infections. Untreated, life expectancy with AIDS is about three years.
The immune system is severely compromised. It’s weakened to the point where it can no longer fight off most diseases and infections. That makes the person vulnerable to a wide range of illnesses,
- oral thrush, a fungal infection in the mouth or throat
- cytomegalovirus (CMV), a type of herpes virus
- cryptococcal meningitis, a fungal infection in the brain
- toxoplasmosis, a brain infection caused by a parasite
- cryptosporidiosis, an infection caused by an intestinal parasite
- cancer, including Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and lymphoma
The shortened life expectancy linked with untreated AIDS isn’t a direct result of the syndrome itself. Rather, it’s a result of the diseases and complications that arise from having an immune system weakened by AIDS.
The symptoms of HIV and AIDS vary, depending on the phase of infection.
- Primary infection (Acute HIV)
Some people infected by HIV develop a flu-like illness within two to four weeks after the virus enters the body. This illness, known as primary (acute) HIV infection, may last for a few weeks.
Possible signs and symptoms include :
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Sore throat and painful mouth sores
- Swollen lymph glands, mainly on the neck
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
These symptoms can be so mild that you might not even notice them. However, the amount of virus in your bloodstream (viral load) is quite high at this time. As a result, the infection spreads more easily during primary infection than during the next stage.
Clinical latent infection (Chronic HIV)
In this stage of infection, HIV is still present in the body and in white blood cells. However, many people may not have any symptoms or infections during this time.This stage can last for many years if you're not receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). Some people develop more severe disease much sooner.
Symptomatic HIV infection
As the virus continues to multiply and destroy your immune cells — the cells in your body that help fight off germs — May develop mild infections or chronic signs and symptoms such as :
- Swollen lymph nodes — often one of the first signs of HIV infection
- Weight loss
- Oral yeast infection (thrush)
- Shingles (herpes zoster)
Cases of HIV progress through three stages :
Stage 1 : Acute stage, the first few weeks after transmission
- Stage 1 : Acute HIV Infection
Within 2 to 4 weeks after infection with HIV, about two-thirds of people will have a flu-like illness. This is the body’s natural response to HIV infection.Flu-like symptoms can include :
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. But some people do not have any symptoms at all during this early stage of HIV.
Stage 2 : Clinical latency, or chronic stage
- Stage 2 : Clinical Latency
In this stage, the virus still multiplies, but at very low levels. People in this stage may not feel sick or have any symptoms. This stage is also called chronic HIV infection.Without HIV treatment, people can stay in this stage for 10 or 15 years, but some move through this stage faster.If you take HIV medicine every day, exactly as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you can protect your health and have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to your sexual partner(s).
But if your viral load is detectable, you can transmit HIV during this stage, even when you have no symptoms. It’s important to see your health care provider regularly to get your viral load checked.
- Stage 3 : AIDS
If you have HIV and you are not on HIV treatment, eventually the virus will weaken your body’s immune system and you will progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). This is the late stage of HIV infection.Symptoms of AIDS can include :
- Rapid weight loss
- Recurring fever or profuse night sweats
- Extreme and unexplained tiredness
- Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
- Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
- Sores of the mouth, anus, or genitals
- Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
- Memory loss, depression, and other neurologic disorders
Each of these symptoms can also be related to other illnesses. The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. If you are HIV-positive, a health care provider will diagnose if your HIV has progressed to stage 3 (AIDS) based on certain medical criteria.
Many of the severe symptoms and illnesses of HIV disease come from the opportunistic infections that occur because your body’s immune system has been damaged.
HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids that include :
- Vaginal and rectal fluids
- Breast milk
The virus doesn’t spread in air or water, or through casual contact.
Some of the ways HIV is spread from person to person include :
- Through vaginal or anal sex — the most common route of transmission, especially among men who have sex with men
- By sharing needles, syringes, and other items for injection drug use
- By sharing tattoo equipment without sterilizing it between uses
- During pregnancy, labor, or delivery from a woman to her baby
- During breastfeeding
- Through “pre-mastication,” or chewing a baby’s food before feeding it to them
- Through exposure to the blood of someone living with HIV, such as through a needle stick.
- HIV is caused by a virus. It can spread through sexual contact or blood, or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding.
- AIDS is caused by HIV. A person can’t get AIDS if they haven’t contracted HIV.
- Healthy individuals have a CD4 count of 500 to 1,500 per cubic millimeter. Without treatment, HIV continues to multiply and destroy CD4 cells. If a person’s CD4 count falls below 200, they have AIDS.
- Also, if someone with HIV develops an opportunistic infection associated with HIV, they can still be diagnosed with AIDS, even if their CD4 count is above 200.
Anyone of any Age, Race, Sex or Sexual orientation can be infected with HIV/AIDS.Risk of HIV/AIDS if :
- Having unprotected sex. Use a new latex or polyurethane condom every time you have sex. Anal sex is more risky than is vaginal sex. Your risk of HIV increases if you have multiple sexual partners.
- Having an STI. Many STIs produce open sores on your genitals. These sores act as doorways for HIV to enter your body.
- Using IV drugs. People who use IV drugs often share needles and syringes. This exposes them to droplets of other people's blood.
HIV can be diagnosed through blood or saliva testing. Available tests include :
- Antigen/Antibody tests.
These tests usually involve drawing blood from a vein. Antigens are substances on the HIV virus itself and are usually detectable — a positive test — in the blood within a few weeks after exposure to HIV.
Are produced by your immune system when it's exposed to HIV. It can take weeks to months for antibodies to become detectable. The combination antigen/antibody tests can take two to six weeks after exposure to become positive.
- Antibody tests.
These tests look for antibodies to HIV in blood or saliva. Most rapid HIV tests, including self-tests done at home, are antibody tests. Antibody tests can take three to 12 weeks after you're exposed to become positive.
- Nucleic acid tests (NATs).
These tests look for the actual virus in your blood (viral load). They also involve blood drawn from a vein. If you might have been exposed to HIV within the past few weeks, your doctor may recommend NAT. NAT will be the first test to become positive after exposure to HIV.
HOMOEOPATHIC MEDICATION FOR AIDS / HIV
- ARSENIC ALBUM :Patients who benefit from arsenic album have some of the following characteristics :
- Burning pains
- Pains that are usually worse at midnight and better with heat and warm application .
- Gradual loss of weight
- Dry, cold, and wrinkled skin
- Extreme restlessness
- Anxiety , especially about their health.
- Weakness and exhaustion .
- Thirst for sips of water at short intervals .
- Tedency to suffer from gastric infections after consuming street food.
- This remedyis also helpful in managing symptoms in the terminalstage of the disease . also it is effective in maintaining the immune system in case of cancer .
- CROTALUS HORRIDUS: It is an excellent sedatives and useful remedy for terminal diseases . the symptoms relieved by this remedy are as :
- Haemorrhage – dark offensive blood draining fromvarious orifices of the body like eyes , nose and ears .
- Tendency to suffer from cancer of liver , uterus , and gastrointestinal tract .
- Infected wounds that bleed profusely .
- Infections like typhoids , yellow fever , diphtheria , septicaemia, debilitating diarrhea and vomiting .
- Usually right sided symptoms ( symptoms that appear on the right side of body )
- LACHESIS: Indivisuals who response well to lachesis have following symptoms :
- Intolerance to tight clothing around neck and waist.
- Symptoms that are worse at night .
- Cancers , boils , ulcers , pustules, hemorrhoids that bleed profusely with delayed clotting
- Unbearable pains
- Fever due to typhoid, tonsillitis , diphtheria and septicaemia.
- Delirium and confusion
- Predominantly left sided symptoms .
- Women of menopausal age particularly benefit from this remedy .
- NATRUM MURIATICUM: It is an effective remedy suited to sensitive individuals who brood a lot and weeps easily. Such individual present with following characteristic symptoms :
- Recurrent headaches
- Tendency for cold and cough
- Herpes , especially around genitals .
- Fungal infections on tongue
- Loss of weight , especially around neck
- Oily face
- Tendency to suffer diabetes , hyperthyroidism , goiter.
- Crave extra salt.
- PHOSPHORUS Individuals who are lean , tall , emaciated , stooped , extremely nervous and oversensitive to external stimuli such as heat , light , touch and noise . such peoples experience the following symptoms :
- Tendency to have hemorrhage where even small wounds bleed profusely .
- Disease of the nerves , spinal cord , and liver , hepatitis , tuberculosis , blood related disease conditions and osteomyelitis .
- Excessive burning along the spine , in palms and chest .
- Weakness and prostration after the slightest loss of body fluids through diarrhea, vomiting , or bleeding .
- Puffy , swollen eyes with dark circles , stickily appearance
- Craves cold water
- PHYTOLACCA DECANDRA : It is a remedy used in patients with the following conditions :
- Tendency to have enlarged glands and hard and painful lymph nodes .
- Severe throat infections , tonsillitis , extreme bone pain and joint pain .
- Shooting , electric light like pains driving the patients to despairs .
- Tendency to suffer from abscesses and cancer , especially of breast with lot of bleeding and discharge .
- Loss of weight
- Tendency for boils , warts , sexually transmitted infections , and skin rashes .
- SYPHILINUM : It is a remedy usually indicated in painful terminal diseases of HIV where in the persons reports the following symptoms :
- Extreme weakness , weilly and settle slowly .
- Shifting pains .
- Symptoms that are worse at night .
- Diminishing memory with mental and physical exhaustion.
- Tendency to severe constipation , fissure in anus , and rectum .
- Craves alcohol .
- History of syphilis .
- TUBERCULINUM : Patient who response well to Tuberculinum exhibit the following characteristics :
- Lean , thin , physically weak and emaciated despite eating well .
- History of tuberculosis or if someone in the immediate family has suffered from TB in the past .
- Symptoms that keep affecting one organ after another – lungs , liver , brain , stomach , kidneys .
- Disease like tuberculosis of lungs , urinary tract infections , ringworms , recurrent diarrhoea , meningitis , recurrent boils and eczema
- Tendency to catch respiratory infections .