(B. Gwyn and M. Hammerly)
HIV TRANSMISSION. AltCareDex System.
B. Gwyn and M. Hammerly, Editors. Englewood, CO: Micromedex, Inc., A
Thomson Healthcare Company, March 2005 update. All rights reserved.
Information is for Authorized End User's use only. What is it? "HIV"
stands for human immunodeficiency (ih-mew-no-d-FISH-in-c) virus. Once
you are infected with this virus, you will probably be infected for
life. AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency (d-FISH-in-c)
syndrome (SIN-drome). To get AIDS, you must be infected with HIV and have a weakened immune system. Scientists are making progress with treatments for HIV so people with AIDS are living longer and healthier lives. Causes: Your immune system protects your body from infection. The HIV
virus weakens part of your immune system by damaging the helper T-cells
(also called CD4+ cells), a type of white blood cell (WBC). T-cells
help your body fight certain kinds of infections. With AIDS, the number
of T-cells is low and cannot help fight these infections. The HIV virus can also cause certain types of cancers. It is these infections and cancers that actually make people with HIV or AIDS sick. Signs and Symptoms: There are 2 ways that doctors can diagnose AIDS. These include a positive HIV
test and either a T-cell count less than 200 or an infection that only
affects people with weakened immunity. A healthy adult's T-cell count
should be more than 500. You may have HIV in your body for some time and not know it. You may have one or more of the following symptoms: Changes in your ability to think. Changes in your coordination (ko-or-di-NA-shun). Coordination is the way your muscles work together. Diarrhea (loose stools). Fever. Joint pain. Mouth, throat, vagina, or rectal (rear end) sores. Night sweats. Skin rashes. Swollen glands in your neck, jaw, armpit, or groin (between your legs). Weight loss. With
AIDS, your body has trouble fighting off germs. You can get infected
with germs that do not bother most people, often in the lungs or brain.
You may also get some rare kinds of pneumonia. One of these is
pneumocystis (new-mo-SIS-tis) carinii (KUH-rih-nee-i) pneumonia
(new-MOAN-yuh). This is also called PCP and is a lung infection. You
may also get Kaposi's (kuh-PO-zees) sarcoma (KS), a form of cancer. How is HIV spread from person to person? The following are ways that HIV can be spread: Through contact with blood and certain body fluids (sperm, vaginal fluids, and breast milk). Having sex (especially if not using a latex condom) with someone who has HIV. Injecting drugs with used equipment. An HIV-infected mother may spread the virus to her baby before or during birth. HIV may be spread from a mother to her baby through breast feeding. Before 1985 in the United States, people could be infected by HIV-infected blood and blood products. Since 1985, blood is tested before being used. How is HIV not spread? There are many false beliefs about how HIV may be spread from person to person. Following are the ways HIV is not spread: Food or sharing plates, cups, or silverware. Insect bites, such as mosquitoes. Sneezing or coughing. Swimming pools or other public places. Toilet seats, clothes, or sheets. Touching the skin of a person who has HIV. What are the infections and cancers I could get because I have AIDS? Candida
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