The very well known, increasing in incidence, life threatening disease, AIDS which stands for Acquired Immune deficiency syndrome, is caused by a virus known as HIV- Human Immune Virus, and together the disease is named as HIVAIDS-Human Immune Virus Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. There is no treatment for this lethal syndrome but, there are medicines for controlling or interrupting multiplication and growth of the virus. This syndrome is a collection of many signs and symptoms.
The HIV virus attacks the immune system of a person, making their body’s defense system weak and unable to fight other diseases. This is the reason why AIDS shows up many symptoms. AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease, that is, it can be transferred through unprotected sex. It can also be transferred through blood transfusion (if the blood is infected), through unsterilized and infected medical equipment such as needles and syringes; or the virus can be transmitted through a mother to her baby. Drug addicts can get infected by the virus through unclean needles. Ring piercing using unclean instruments can also be the media for the spread of HIV. At times it may be that the virus may get into a person’s body but remain inactive. Such an affected person is known as a carrier and there is a chance that the virus may become active and start spreading infection at any time of life.
Symptoms of AIDS
The symptoms of AIDS should be considered alarming and must be immediately reported to a doctor. The HIV primarily affects the human immune system by destroying its cells. These immune cells when destroyed are then incapable of fighting the harmful foreign body or organism. The result of which is occurrence of many diseases that move the patient towards death. Some of the symptoms of AIDS are mentioned as follows.
AIDS starts producing symptoms by first showing up acute forms of infections. CD4 T cells that are destroyed by the human immune virus actually function in fighting off infections. Many infected patients can develop the symptoms of influenza like illness. Some patients may go asymptomatic as well for a long time. The infectious symptoms mostly include the onset of fever, headaches, sore mouth and sore genitals, inflammation of throat, appearance of rashes and enlargement of the lymph nodes. These symptoms are usually an indication of an undergoing inflammatory process.
Symptoms of AIDS may also include those that are related to the G.I.T. This may involve diarrhea that can last up to two weeks. Other gastrointestinal symptoms are nausea and vomiting.
Unexplained fatigue and tiredness are also amongst the symptoms of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
Fatigue and tiredness can be persistent if the disease has progressed through its stages.
Muscle and Joint Pain
Among the symptoms that occur in the early stages of AIDS, muscle pain and joint pain may also be counted.
Among the symptoms of advanced stages of AIDS, persistent diarrhea is also included.
Night sweats are also a symptom of advanced condition of AIDS.
Unexplained Weight Loss
If not treated early or if left uncontrolled, AIDS may also lead to weight loss.
Symptoms of AIDS can also include memory loss as well as depression.
Another symptom of this syndrome is the occurrence of seizures in the affected persons.
Effects on Vision
AIDS may also include symptoms that are related to vision such as blurred vision or may be even the loss of vision.
Long Lasting Symptoms
Infectious symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms and other ones such as fatigue, tiredness, muscle and joint pain, etc. can also indicate the presence of other diseases and not necessarily be the symptoms of AIDS. But if these symptoms last for long, like for almost 4 weeks or more, this can be a sign that the immune system is weakened and is fighting an ongoing infection.
Cancers can also occur in AIDS affected patients. These cancers are viral induced. Kaposi’s sarcoma is a common type of cancer that occurs due to AIDS. It is known to affect 10- 20 percent of the AIDS affected population. Kaposi’s sarcoma is a systemic disease. It is characterized by the presence of cutaneous lesions. These cutaneous lesions or blotches may be red, purple or brown in appearance. The common areas of affected skin are of the limbs and the genitals. Mouth, GIT and respiratory tract are also involved in other ways. Other types of cancers that are caused in AIDS include Burkitt’s lymphoma, cervical cancer and primary central nervous system lymphoma. Cervical cancer can occur in association with the human papilloma virus (HPV).