Information about HIV infection and AIDS

What is HIV infection and AIDS?

Information about HIV infection and AIDS

In 1981, a new disease was recognized for the first time in the United States, which was later named AIDS. The name of the disease is an abbreviation of the English name Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, which expresses the essence of the disease. It is a syndrome of acquired immunodeficiency, a set of symptoms that leads to the loss of immunity, ie the immunity of the organism. Thus, the human body becomes prone to a number of other infectious and cancerous diseases. In 1983, dr. Gallo in the USA and dr. Montagniera in France the causative agent of AIDS. It is a virus that has been termed HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a virus that causes loss of defense in humans. In particular, this virus infects a certain group of white blood cells, T lymphocytes in which it multiplies, it later kills them and reduces their number in the body of an infected person. A marked decrease in the number of white blood cells, which play an important role in the defense of the human body, leads to immune failure and develops in AIDS. A person infected with HIV may not have any health problems for a long time, perhaps several years. This period is called the asymptomatic carrier of HIV. Even in an asymptomatic period, an infected person can transfer the infection to other persons. At the same time, he looks and feels completely healthy, and even his partner knows nothing about it. Only a laboratory test for HIV indicates a positive finding, a person is "HIV positive". According to current knowledge, it is not possible to say with certainty whether all HIV-infected persons develop the disease. The vast majority of them will develop some of the symptoms of HIV / AIDS usually 10-15 years after infection (exposure to HIV). A number of factors, such as the initial level of immunity, lifestyle - coping with stressful situations and nutritional habits - affect how early or late AIDS develops. However, early and effective treatment plays a crucial role in the development of HIV infection.

Every illness is a burden for the body. The so-called reinfection, ie the intake of another dose of HIV in the body, can contribute to the development of AIDS disease from a mere HIV positive stage. Therefore, even HIV-positive people must adhere to the principles of safer sex and the use of protective equipment to protect not only others but also themselves, in sexual contact with an HIV positive partner.

In the Czech Republic, on average, 50-60 persons infected with HIV are newly registered annually.

However, we assume that the actual number of infected is about five to ten times greater.

How is HIV transmitted?

The HIV virus is very sensitive to external influences, it is destroyed by common physical and chemical means, eg temperature above 60 ° C, common disinfectants, eg chlorine preparations. After drying, HIV soon dies.

HIV is found in body fluids, especially blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk. In order for an infection to occur, a certain amount of HIV must enter the human body, so-called infectious dose. There are only three ways to transmit HIV infection:

1. Unprotected sex

This is the most common route of transmission. A high-risk condom is an unprotected shag in the vagina and rectum with a partner who is not absolutely sure she is HIV negative. Without risk, there is no unprotected intercourse in the mouth (oral sex). The risk is highest for unprotected rectal contact, both for a passive partner in two men's contact, as well as for a woman in heterosexual couples. The risk of transmission of HIV infection from man to woman is significantly higher than from infected woman to man, which is related to higher levels of HIV in semen than in vaginal secretions.

Sufficient protection, though not 100%, is provided only by a condom. Intermittent intercourse and hormonal contraceptives do not represent any protection against HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections. The vaginal diaphragm reduces the risk of HIV only marginally.

The risk of HIV infection is further increased by the presence of other sexually transmitted infections, abrasions and injuries in the genital area. So it is advisable to use moisturizing agents, so-called lubricating gels, for protected sexual intercourse. It is necessary to use water-based lubricants. Fat-based lubricants disrupt the protective properties of the latex condom.

Also, during oral sex, ie in the irritation of the sexual organs of the partner by mouth, the possibility of infection cannot be excluded. The risk is increased when the mouth comes into contact with the ejaculate (sperm and preejaculatory fluid), vaginal secretion and especially when in contact with menstrual blood. Similarly, other sexually transmitted infections occur with one of the partners. Protection is either the use of a condom in a man, or at least the avoidance of contact with sexual secretions in both men and women.

2. Blood way

(a) administration of infected blood or blood products. At present, this method of transmission in developed countries, among which our country belongs, is almost excluded. Since 1987, all blood donors have been controlled in the Czech Republic whether their blood is infected with HIV. In minor injuries, the risk of HIV infection from an infected person is unlikely because a certain amount of virus is needed to infect. However, it is important to avoid the common use of toiletries, such as a toothbrush and razor blades, as well as inadequately sterilized instruments to perform certain cosmetic tasks (tattoos, piercing of the ears, piercings, etc.).

b) for injecting drug use Sharing needles, syringes and drug solutions can lead to HIV infection among injecting drug users, if any of them are infected with HIV. Today, the transmission of HIV infection among injecting drug users is the most common mode of transmission in some Southern and Eastern European countries.

Information about HIV infection and AIDS

3. From mother to child

An HIV-infected pregnant woman can also infect her baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Today's medicine is able to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV from mother to child by about two thirds and reduce the risk of health burden for the mother. If a woman decides to end her pregnancy, HIV positivity is a health reason for abortion.

Pregnant women are routinely tested for HIV for prophylaxis or treatment in case of a positive finding to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV to the newborn. According to the currently valid legislation, it is possible to carry out a HIV test in a pregnant woman even without consent, taking into account the interest of the unborn child (see Act 258/2000 Coll., § 71). HIV-positive mothers are not recommended breast-feeding in developed countries.

How is HIV not transmitted?

HIV is not transmitted:

In normal social contact For example, by handshake, using a handset, during a shared stay in a room. Using the dishes together. HIV infection has never been proven in household members who lived with HIV positive, but had no sexual intercourse and did not share drugs with it. While kissing HIV-positive saliva may contain HIV, but in very small amounts. Moreover, saliva contains substances that destroy the virus. Transmission of the HIV virus by this route has never been demonstrated.

However, the so-called "deep" or "French" kissing can be considered as not completely safe, with minor injuries in the mouth. By Hugging There are sexual practices (eg "petting") that can be described as being at risk of HIV transmission. This includes hugging, cuddling, irritation of the genital organs by the partner's partner without contact with his sperm or vaginal secretion. In the sauna, in the pool If, however, someone like the ancient Romans does not use these facilities for sexual enjoyment. Insect The most convincing evidence is that despite the high incidence of stinging insects in Africa, HIV transmission after insect bites has not yet been demonstrated. In addition, HIV has been shown not to grow in the digestive tract of insects.

What does the so-called "AIDS test" say?

"AIDS Test" Indicates whether or not a person has been infected with HIV. HIV antibodies or HIV antigen are detected. This test is positive not only for all people with clinical symptoms of AIDS, but also for all asymptomatic carriers of HIV virus. Approximately 2-3 months after HIV infection, HIV antibodies or HIV antigen can already be detected by laboratory testing. Until then, can HIV infection by laboratory examination not be demonstrable? we are talking about the so-called "immunological window". However, at this time the infected person is carrying a large amount of HIV. In unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing injecting aids and donating blood during this period, they pose a high risk to their surroundings.

A positive HIV test does not show AIDS but only the presence of a virus in the body. Diagnosis of AIDS can only be determined by a physician based on a clinical examination of an HIV positive person.

The development of HIV infection can be more effectively prevented by knowing that you are HIV positive and treated in time. We still cannot cure HIV infection, but the life of HIV-infected people can be significantly extended and improved by treatment.

A negative HIV test means that you have not been infected with HIV, but if the test was performed after 3 months after the last risky behavior. Also, a negative result does not mean that you cannot get infected in the future. A negative result should be accompanied by a change in behavior.

A negative result does not mean that your sexual partner must be negative. HIV infection can also be infected with a single unprotected sexual intercourse. At other times, couples live at risk for several years, and the transmission of the HIV positive partner to another does not happen. If someone wants to convince you of your health by writing the results of your HIV test, be aware that such a result is of limited time. A person who interchanges with sexual partners and does not follow the principles of safer sex has been infected several times since the HIV test was done!

Where can you have an HIV test done?

The HIV test is carried out in most health care institutions (where the client usually pays the examination), in the seven AIDS centers of the former county towns and every general practitioner, where the health insurance companies cover the examination. An applicant for HIV testing in some health care facilities has a certain fee. In exceptional cases, the doctor of the health care institution may also perform the test free of charge.

When should you go for an HIV test?

The most common reasons a person performs an HIV antibody test are:

1. Permanent risk behavior. Counseling can at least suggest how to reduce the risk.

2. Random risk behavior. It is advisable to perform the HIV test 2-3 months after risky behavior. It is necessary to behave safely (sexual intercourse only with condom or abstinence).

3. Before creating a new partnership. Partners should undergo the examination together (unless the other person has no sexual experience) and must be sure that they have been safe in at least 2 months before the test.

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