Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a health condition that prevents a person’s immune system from fighting infections. HIV can eventually cause the potentially life-threatening disease acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). As such, learning about HIV 101—the basics and prevention—is vital.
The transfer of blood and sexual fluids are the leading causes of HIV. People can prevent HIV by practicing safe sex, not sharing injection needles, and taking specific medications that mitigate its synthesis.
How Humans Contract HIV
HIV is spread through a medically recognized mechanism known as HIV transmission. It is spread through person-to-person contact, where one individual has the disease. It can be transmitted through the following types of bodily fluid:
- Seminal fluid
- Vaginal fluid
- Rectal fluid
- Breast milk
The transmission may occur if these fluids come in contact with damaged tissues, mucous membranes, or the bloodstream. The most common locations of mucous membranes are found in the vagina, penis, rectum, or mouth.
Women who are pregnant can spread HIV to their babies before, during, or after childbirth or through breastfeeding. Prior to advancements in medical technology, blood transfusion or organ donation recipients were at risk for exposure to HIV and AIDS infections. People cannot contract HIV or AIDS from hugging, shaking hands, or kissing, nor can you get it from using the same toilet or sharing food.
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Symptoms and Phases of HIV and AIDS
Symptoms of HIV or AIDS vary and depend upon the individual and current phase of either disease. There are four phases of HIV and AIDS and include the following symptoms associated with each stage:
- Acute HIV: The start of HIV seems to present with flu-like symptoms about two weeks after the virus enters a person’s body. Common symptoms include fever, aches, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes.
- Chronic HIV: Chronic HIV looks like acute HIV, except that it is causing ongoing symptoms. If left untreated, chronic HIV may last for around ten years, but can also be much longer or shorter.
- Symptomatic HIV: This phase is the third progression of HIV as the virus continues to attack immune cells. Chronic symptoms include fever, weight loss, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes.
- AIDS Progression: Thanks to modern medicine, it is rare to see HIV progress to AIDS, since it is the last stage of the disease where the immune system is significantly damaged. Symptoms of AIDS include night sweats, fever, lesions, weight loss, and rashes.
There are several prevention methods that are available to both positive and non-positive individuals. Understanding what they are is critical to prevent the contraction and transmission of the virus.
Methods for Preventing the Spread of HIV
While there is no cure or vaccine that can prevent HIV, there are methods that individuals can incorporate into their lifestyles, which can protect themselves and others from contracting it.
The following methods are the medically recognized methods for preventing the spread of HIV:
- Practice safe sex by wearing a condom.
- Inform sexual partners if you are HIV positive.
- Use clean needles for drug injections.
- Tell your doctor if you are HIV positive and pregnant.
- Consider male circumcision.
- Take a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
If you have additional questions regarding the basics of HIV, AIDS, or their prevention, you should talk to your primary care physician for specific medical advice.
Truvada Gave Rise to Other Health Conditions
One of the most highly recommended ways to prevent contracting HIV or AIDS is through the use of PrEP medications, which is why Truvada’s maker, Gilead Sciences Inc., is being accused of negligence after selling a drug that caused additional health problems.
While it may have been effective in preventing and managing HIV and AIDS, it did not come without a high cost and toll on another person’s life, primarily bone and kidney damage.
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Contact Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers if You Believe Truvada Caused Your Bone or Kidney Injuries
Truvada injuries have severely impacted the lives of the patients who take it when they thought they were doing the right thing. At Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers, we are here to help you through this difficult time. Please call our team of legal professionals for a free case review (855) 529-0269 today.