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Sexual Advice 101
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What is HIV?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus is responsible for AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). In most cases of viral infection, the body’s own immune system will be able to counter and clear the infection. HIV virus on the other hand, infects the cells of the immune system. This virus infects CD4+ helper T cells of the immune system. The virus multiplies within the CD4 cells and millions of copies are released within the body. In this process, the CD4 cells are destroyed. As the number of CD4 cells decline, the patient’s immune system is compromised and eventually, the body is unable to counter infections effectively. When a person is first affected with HIV, he or she may experience symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, sore throat, rashes.As the immune system is further weakened, symptoms like fever, cough, diarrhea, weight loss, shortness of breath begin to appear. A person who has been infected with HIV may experience only mild to moderate symptoms for 10 to 15 years. As the disease progresses, opportunistic infections begin to assail the body and weaken it, causing serious conditions and even death. HIV can be transmitted due to having unprotected sex with infected person, transfusion of infected blood, transmission from mother to child, transmission through contaminated needles. This virus can be detected by tests to detect the levels of viral antibodies, RNAs or viral load. There is no treatment for HIV as yet. Some anti-retroviral drugs can help suppress the virus and boost immunity for some time.

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