Precursor of AIDS. Caused by a virus. Sooner or later the disease is always fatal. HIV infection manifests itself through various symptoms, depending on the stage of the disease. The diagnosis is usually made by the family doctor. In order to delay the course of the disease as much as possible, different medications are used. Find out more about the causes, symptoms and treatment of an HIV infection here.
The causative agent of an HIV infection is the Human immunodeficiency virus, also Human Immunodeficiency Virus or Human Immunodeficiency Virus called. It can be transmitted sexually, via blood and blood products, and from mother to child; in the process, it attacks T-helper lymphocytes as well as macrophages, important cells of the immune defense system. Reduced number of T-helper cells. The structures of the lymph nodes are destroyed. In this way, pathogens can spread unhindered in the body. HIV-1. HIV-2 differentiated. Both variants of the virus lead to immunodeficiency, but the HIV-1 is more pathogenic and more widespread. HIV-2 is mainly found in certain regions of West Africa.
HIV viruses are divided into groups and subtypes; they all have the property of mutating quickly. In Europe, subtype B from group M is of particular importance; worldwide, subtypes C and A are predominant.
The HI virus enters the human body in different ways. In most cases, the virus is transmitted during sexual intercourse between a healthy. Transmitted to an HIV-positive person through seminal or vaginal fluid.
The virus reaches the so-called Langerhans' dendritic cells in the mucous membrane, where it is further transported to the lymph nodes and infection of the T-helper cells occurs. Even a single sexual contact can be enough to become infected; men are more likely to infect women than vice versa. Infection is also possible through oral sex, where the pathogen enters the body through the oral mucosa.
The virus can also be infected through blood. Infected cells constantly release viruses into the blood plasma. If one has one's own small skin lesion If a person comes into contact with the blood of an HIV-positive person, infection can occur.
In the past, some HIV infections also arose from blood transfusions. Nowadays, however, blood supplies are tested so thoroughly that this route of infection is the exception.
Drug addict can also be contracted by sharing injecting equipment. In rare cases, the pricking of a needle can also infect health care workers. Similarly, infection is possible in this area through injury during surgery on an infected person.
Pregnant women who are HIV-positive, can also transmit the virus to their child. The virus gets out of the vaginal secretion during birth. blood to the mucous membrane in the gastrointestinal tract as well as to the respiratory tract of the child. The pathogen can also infect the child through breast milk during breastfeeding.
The risk of HIV infection is especially high at carnivals
Cologne, Karlsruhe, Munich and Berlin are among the cities where people party particularly hard at carnival. The alcohol flows in streams, which puts the carnival revellers in a very special flirting mood – a one-night stand here and there is not uncommon.
But this "state of emergency" can often have serious consequences, namely when it comes to condoms. A large number of those affected simply forget about them, for the rest it is simply not important.
Risk of infection is high
According to experts, the risk of contracting AIDS is particularly high during the carnival season. According to your information, the trend is that there are more and more HIV-infected Germans.
Homosexuals are affected in the same way as heterosexuals. Intensive educational and preventive work should be carried out to increase the use of condoms, especially during carnivals, in order to avoid the "fifth season" to survive healthy.
It is usually impossible to predict exactly how an HIV infection will progress. In principle, however, the disease can best be treated if it is diagnosed at an early stage. The HIV infection is not curable in any case.
After a person has been infected with the HIV virus, some time passes before the flu-like symptoms become noticeable. In one person this is only days, in the other several months.
After this stage, weeks, months, years or even decades often pass until the patient reaches the final stage. During this time, the patient's immune system is so weakened that the body is constantly infected with pathogens.
In this last stage of the disease one speaks of the Aids disease, from which the patient finally also dies. Towards the end of the disease, patients are usually in need of care. Reliant on the help of other people.
Thanks to extensive medical research in this field, various drugs have now been developed to treat HIV infection. The course of the disease can thus be extremely delayed, even if no cure can be achieved.
The HIV infection progresses in several disease stages. The first two stages are counted as HIV infection, the third and last stage is called AIDS disease. Patients with HIV often have swollen lymph nodes. A few weeks after infection, symptoms similar to a flu-like infection can be noticed. Sufferers then have a fever with aching limbs and headaches, feel tired, have little appetite and a sore throat.
In addition, the patients are often nauseous and have to vomit. In addition to these symptoms, there is often a rash on the skin, which can also be itchy and disappears after about two days.
In the second stage of the HIV infection, patients suffer from fever and long-lasting diarrhea. Fungal infections develop, for example in the area of the mouth.
Shingles can also occur. Infections with bacteria often occur as well.
In the last stage of the disease, which is then called AIDS, the affected persons lose a lot of weight, often have a impaired brain function, certain cancers in connection with the HIV infection as well as various infections with different pathogens. At this stage the patient dies.
The doctor diagnoses the HIV infection with the help of a blood test, the so-called HIV test. Antibodies against the HI virus can be detected in the blood. Thus, if positive, they are indicative of an HIV infection.
If the test is positive, a second blood test is carried out, which provides even more specific values of the HIV infection. Immediately after an infection, however, the test is still negative, i.e. the HI virus cannot yet be detected.
If HIV infection is still suspected, the blood test must be repeated after a few weeks. Further treatment usually takes place in special medical practices that specialize in the treatment of HIV and AIDS patients.
When a drug therapy of the HIV infection begins varies from person to person. Depending on how high the viral load in the blood is, the treatment starts a little earlier or later.
The patient receives several different medications, which he must take several times a day. Although these have side effects, they are the only therapy option to delay the onset of AIDS.
Among the possible means applied are:
– Entry inhibitors – reverse transcriptase inhibitors and – protease inhibitors
As part of the therapy, HIV-positive patients are also advised to have all recommended vaccinations, for example, also the flu vaccination, done. Each infection can further affect the weakened body, leading to death sooner.
In order to stabilize his immune system, every HIV patient should eat a healthy and balanced diet and move regularly. The diseases, which were in addition to or. due to the HIV infection are treated independently of it.
If an HIV-positive woman is pregnant, she receives special drug therapy during pregnancy. In most cases, the baby is not born in the normal way, but by cesarean section in order not to become infected. After delivery, the infant receives precautionary medication to fight the HI virus.
As part of the therapy, the doctor will also explain to the patient how the virus is transmitted and what precautions must be taken to avoid infecting other healthy people with the virus. Even if the patient is still in the asymptomatic stage of the disease, he is still HIV-positive and can infect other, healthy people with the virus.
To prevent infection, condoms should always be used for sexual intercourse, especially if the sexual partners do not yet know each other. Even toothbrushes should not be shared, as slight bleeding of the gums can transmit the virus. Other activities or touch such as using the same glass, shaking hands, hugging, etc. but are completely harmless.
If couples wish to have a child when one partner is HIV-positive, they should seek counseling at special centers to determine the to keep the possibility of transmitting the virus as low as possible. Artificial insemination is also often used in these cases.
The risk of becoming infected in the nursing profession is comparatively low. The most important thing here is to thorough hygiene Eighth.