About HIV.

Aorem IDS was first recognised as a new condition in 1981. Since then around 42 million people worldwide have been infected with HIV, the virus which can lead to AIDS. About a third of them have died. However, developments in treatment since the mid-nineties have dramatically improved the life expectancy for those diagnosed with HIV in the UK.

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HIV Definition.

Structure of HIV

Structure of HIV


HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This is the virus known to cause AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). If someone is HIV-positive, it means they have been infected with the virus. A person infected with HIV does not have AIDS until the virus seriously damages their immune system, making them prone to a range of opportunistic infections, some of which can lead to death. With testing and proper treatment, many people in the UK are now able to halt or delay the damage caused by HIV.

How is HIV Transmitted?

HIV Paths.

HIV causes.

Once HIV enters the body, it seeks out a type of white blood cells called helper T-lymphocytes. These usually defend the body against infection. The virus takes over the T-lymphocyte, causing it to die and releasing billions of copies of the virus back into the blood. These new viruses attach themselves to new T-lymphocytes and so the infection spreads. For a while, the body manages to keep producing enough T-lymphocytes to keep the immune system working properly. This is sometimes called the "latent phase". But, after some time (usually several years, sometimes as long as fifteen) and without effective treatment, the body reaches a stage where it cannot keep up with the HIV. Then, the immune system starts to fail and the person starts to become susceptible to other infections, which would not normally make them ill. The person is now said to have AIDS.


History

Symptoms.

People with HIV may not have any symptoms at all while they are in the latent phase. However, many people experience symptoms in the first couple of months after getting infected. These symptoms may include high temperature and fever, fatigue, skin rash, muscle pains, headache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. But, if you have any of these symptoms, it is worth remembering that all of them are also symptoms of much simpler and less threatening conditions, such as flu. Once someone becomes ill with HIV, they are open to many infections. These can include infections of the mouth, such as thrush (oral candidiasis), unusual types of pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB), infections of the brain and eyes, unusual skin problems and odd infections of the gastrointestinal tract. Most people with severe HIV infection also experience weight loss, enlargement of their lymph glands and persistent diarrhoea.


History

HIV Diagnosis.

HIV infection is diagnosed with a blood test. However, the test used in most UK hospitals will only show the presence of the virus once it has become established (three months or so after infection). Continue


History

Mission and Values.

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