Exchange of body fluids such as blood, semen, pre-ejaculate and vaginal fluids, may all cause HIV to be transferred between people.
STD’S or sexually transmitted diseases are sexual conditions that occur through sexual intercourse with someone who is infected. Sexual activities that include the exchange of bodily fluids increase the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Usually, these diseases are transmitted through oral, anal, and vaginal sex.
Many of these types of illnesses require medical treatment and must be treated as soon as possible. While most sexually transmitted diseases are benign and curable, others, such as HIV and Herpes are not. Read more for information about various sexually transmitted diseases, and the ways they can be treated.
HIV is short for human immunodeficiency virus, a form of retrovirus that causes the infection. With time and without proper treatment, HIV can eventually lead to AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
Additionally, infected mother’s may pass the infection off to children through pregnancy, childbirth, and sometimes breast milk.
The HIV virus infects vital human cells within the immune system known as T cells, effectively weakening a person’s immune system. This, in turn, allows infections, diseases, and cancers to occur in the body, often ravaging the immune system further.
Because the virus has dormant qualities, many people are unaware initially they have been infected at all. The virus attacks the body in three stages, and left untreated could lead to the development of full-blown AIDS, and possibly other fatal illnesses.
The first stage of HIV occurs within 2-6 weeks after the first contact with the virus. The body’s immune system can still fight, and people infected with it will feel symptoms similar to other viral infections. This stage is called acute retroviral syndrome. The symptoms will often be comparable to having the flu and usually, subside within a week or two. Other symptoms include:
– A headache
-A sore Throat
– A rash around the torso that doesn’t itch
This stage of HIV is when doctors have the highest chance of preventing HIV from taking hold in the body. There are anti-HIV drugs that can be taken to protect people who have had unprotected sexual contact with someone who is infected.
In the second stage of HIV, the immune system is compromised, yet the virus goes into an asymptomatic (latent) period. At this stage, most people don’t have symptoms. This stage of the virus can last as long as 10 years, and it is possible to pass HIV onto others.
The third stage is full-blown AIDS, which is an advanced stage of the HIV infection. The T-cell numbers in the body have dropped below 200, and the immune system is completely weakened. It is at this point that many people may find that they have been infected. Symptoms include:
– Swollen lymph nodes in the neck or groin area
– Fever that persists for 10 or more days
– Sudden and unexplained weight loss
– Purplish spots that don’t go away
The best and only reliable way to know for sure whether someone is infected with HIV is through testing; specifically an HIV test. Currently there are several different tests that check blood and body fluids for the virus. However, they won’t be able to detect the virus right away. Because the virus takes time to affect the body, namely causing the body to make antibodies, or eventually showing itself within the body, it may take 6 months or more before a positive test can be confirmed.
It’s important to take regular HIV tests because the sooner someone can start treatment for the disease the better the chances are for survival and ultimately non-transmission to someone else.
There are three types of HIV tests that can be administered to determine if someone is infected with the virus.