HIV is actually the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus that spreads rapidly through the cells in the immune system. HIV is not something that should ever be left untreated. When left untreated, HIV will lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, more commonly referred to as AIDS. More than anything, AIDS causes a greatly lowered immune system, which means more infections in the body. The risk of contracting HIV is significantly higher if another STD is present in the body, and if HIV and another STD are both present in the body, the chances of spreading to other people also greatly increases. It is extremely important to get tested if you feel you may have been exposed to HIV.
Symptoms of HIV:
Symptoms of HIV vary depending on the length of time it has been in the body. In the beginning, they appear flu like in nature. Some of the symptoms for acute HIV include:
- Fatigue to the point of exhaustion
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, genitals, and armpits
- Increased headaches
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Some chronic HIV symptoms include:
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Increased fevers
- Difficulty in breathing
Transmission of HIV
HIV cannot be transmitted from skin to skin contact. It is only transmitted through bodily fluids that are infected with the virus. Those fluids include blood, vaginal secretions, and semen. It is most commonly passed through vaginal or anal sex, but is also transferred through the use of communal needles. It is a lot less common to be transferred through oral sex, yet still can happen that way.
Type of Test Required for Diagnosis
The only way to test for HIV is by doing an antibody blood test. If recent exposure has occurred, we can offer an early-detection RNA test as well.