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HIV and Aids Terminologies / definitions

 

STDs
HIV
Aids
STIs
ARVs
ART

– sexually transmitted diseases
– human immunodeficiency virus
– acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
– sexually transmitted infections
– antiretroviral drug
– Antiretroviral therapy

 

What is HIV and Aids?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, and AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system by attaching to white blood cells called *helper T cells. The virus uses these cells to create more copies of itself, which are then released into the blood and destroy the helper T cells. This process weakens the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections, illnesses, and certain cancers.

    *The T helper cells, also known as CD4⁺ cells or CD4-positive cells, are a type of T cell that play an important role in the adaptive immune system. They aid the activity of other immune cells by releasing cytokines.

HIV can’t be cured, but it can be controlled with proper medical care. Without treatment, HIV can gradually destroy the immune system, leading to AIDS in about 8 to 10 years. Symptoms of HIV and AIDS vary depending on the person and the phase of infection, but can include:

Swollen lymph glands, Diarrhea, Weight loss, Cough, Night sweats, Fever, Fatigue, Oral yeast infection, Shingles, and Pneumonia.

HIV is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, such as during unprotected sex or through sharing injection drug equipment.

What is STDs?

STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases, are infections that are spread from person to person through sexual contact or close physical contact. They can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites, and can be passed through vaginal, oral, and anal sex, and through intimate physical contact like heavy petting. Many STIs have no symptoms, so people can have an infection but not know it.

What is STIs

STIs, or sexually transmitted infections, are infections that are spread through unprotected sexual contact. They can also be transmitted through infected blood or blood products, during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. STIs are caused by over 30 different bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

What is ARVs

ARVs stands for antiretrovirals, which are drugs used to treat HIV and other retroviruses by preventing them from replicating. ARV therapy, also known as ART, is the medication that treats HIV. ART usually involves two or three active HIV drugs, sometimes in a single pill, and sometimes includes a booster drug.

What is the ARV ingredients

As of July 2023, 75.8% of people in South Africa’s public health sector on antiretroviral treatment (ART) take a three-in-one combination of the drugs tenofovir, lamivudine, and dolutegravir (TLD). TLD is a film-coated tablet that contains 50 mg of dolutegravir, 300 mg of lamivudine, and 300 mg of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate.

Side effects of ARVs ingredients

ARV ingredient – Tenofovir (Viread)

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue.
  • bone pain.
  • breathing problems.
  • fast, irregular heartbeat.
  • muscle pain.
  • nausea, vomiting, unusual upset stomach or stomach pain.
  • signs and symptoms of kidney injury like trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
  • signs and symptoms of liver injury like dark yellow or brown urine; general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms; light-colored stools; loss of appetite; nausea; right upper belly pain; unusually weak or tired; yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • signs of infection – fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or trouble passing urine

 

ARV ingredient – Lamivudine
Lamivudine can cause serious, life-threatening side effects, especially when used for a long time, including:

  • Muscle disorders
  • Liver problems
  • Pancreatitis in some children
  • Immune system changes
  • Lactic acidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by a buildup of lactic acid in the blood
  • Hepatic decompensation,
  • Peripheral neuropathy,
  • Aplastic anemia,
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome,
  • Fat redistribution
  • blood disorders, such as severe anemia
  • Lamivudine can also make you dizzy, so you should avoid driving, using machinery, or doing anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy, and alcoholic beverages may also worsen the side effects of this medication.

 

ARV ingredient – Dolutegravir
Dolutegravir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects.
These include: 

  • severe skin rash and allergic reactions
  • liver problems,
  • and drug interactions.
what is the Stages of HIV

HIV infection has three stages: acute, chronic, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). There is no cure for HIV, but treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) can slow or stop HIV from progressing from one stage to the next.

  • Acute HIV infection: Some people develop a short illness within 2–4 weeks of exposure to the virus. This illness can include flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and rash.
  • Chronic HIV infection
  • AIDS

Not all people will see their condition progress at the same rate or display the same symptoms. Early detection and effective treatment can enable a person with HIV to lead a normal life.

What are the 7 warning signs of HIV?
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph glands, which are often one of the first symptoms of HIV infection.
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • *Oral yeast infection, also called thrush.
  • *Shingles, also called herpes zoster.
  • *Pneumonia.

*Oral yeast infections, also known as oral thrush or oropharyngeal candidiasis, are caused by an overgrowth of the Candida fungus in the mouth, throat, and esophagus. 

*Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral disease that causes a painful rash with blisters in a localized area. The rash usually appears in a single, wide mark on the left or right side of the body or face. 

* Pneumonia is a serious infection that causes the air sacs in one or both lungs to fill with fluid or pus. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, depending on the type of germ causing the infection, your age, your overall health and can be life-threatening if the immune system is severely damaged. 

What is hiv cd4 count and viral load

CD4 count and viral load are two blood tests that are important for people with HIV to have regularly. CD4 count measures the health of the immune system, while viral load measures the amount of HIV in the blood.

The amount of HIV in your blood is called “viral load.” Viral load shows how fast HIV is reproducing in your body – the lower your viral load, the better. Your “CD4 cell count” measures the health of your immune system. The higher it is, the better your body can fight infections.