Protection Against HIV

By: Allison K and Olivia Lommen

What is HIV?

  • HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus that if left untreated, can lead to the disease AIDS
  • HIV attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells also known as T cells, which help the immune system fight off infections.
  • If left untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells making the person more likely to get infections or infection-related cancers.

Early Symptoms of HIV:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Rash

  • Night sweats

  • Muscle aches

  • Sore throat

  • Fatigue

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Mouth ulcers

Symptoms of AIDS (the progression of HIV):

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Recurring fever or profuse night sweats
  • Extreme and unexplained tiredness
  • Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
  • Sores of the mouth, anus, or genitals
  • Pneumonia
  • Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
  • Memory loss, depression, and other neurologic disorders

Treatments for HIV:

There is no cure for HIV but HIV is treatable.

HIV is treated using a combination of medicines to fight HIV infection. This is called antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART isn’t a cure, but it can control the virus so that you can live a longer, healthier life and reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others. ART prevents HIV from multiplying, which reduces the amount of HIV in your body. Having less HIV in your body gives your immune system a chance to recover and fight off infections and cancers. Even though there is still some HIV in the body, the immune system is strong enough to fight off infections and cancers.
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Prevention and Protection:

  • Abstinence

  • Limiting number of sexual partners

  • Never sharing needles

  • Using condoms

  • Taking medicines to prevent HIV

  • Having good hygiene

  • Being knowledgeable about your sex partners hygiene

Complications of HIV:

  • Can develop into AIDS which attacks the immune system and can kill you

  • Pregnant women at risk for preterm birth and stillbirth

  • A pregnant women can also pass the virus to the child, infecting her child
The Science of HIV/AIDS