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Monday, November 20, 2023



AIDS stands for “acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.” It is an advanced stage of HIV infection. Doctors identify AIDS as having a CD4 count of fewer than 200 cells per cubic millimeter. Also, they may diagnose AIDS if a person has characteristic opportunistic infections, associated types of cancer, or both. When a person with HIV does not receive treatment, AIDS likely develops, as the immune system gradually wears down. However, advances in antiretroviral treatments have made this progression to AIDS increasingly less common.


HIV can transmit when body fluids containing the virus come into contact with a permeable barrier in the body or small breaks in moist tissues of areas such as the genitals.

Specifically, HIV can transmit via:

  • blood
  • semen
  • pre-seminal fluid
  • vaginal fluids
  • rectal fluids
  • breast milk

The virus cannot transmit through saliva, so a person cannot contract HIV through open-mouthed kissing, for example.

One of the main causes of HIV transmission is anal or vaginal intercourse. For the transmission to happen, the people must not be using barrier protection, such as a condom, or taking pre-exposure prophylaxis, a treatment that aims to prevent HIV transmission among people with known risk factors. Another main cause of HIV transmission in the country is sharing equipment for injecting drugs. Less commonly, HIV transmits to babies during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Also, there is a chance of transmission in blood transfusions, though the risk is extremely low when blood donations are effectively screened.


Some people with HIV have no symptoms for months or even years after contracting the virus. Partly because of this, the people with HIV do not know that they have it. While a person with no symptoms may be unlikely to seek care, there is still a high risk of transmission. For this reason, experts recommend regular testing, so that everyone is aware of their HIV status. Meanwhile, around 80% of the people with HIV develop flu-like symptoms around 2–6 weeks after contracting the infection. These symptoms are collectively called an acute retroviral syndrome.

Early symptoms of HIV may include:

  • a fever.
  • chills.
  • sweating, particularly at night.
  • enlarged glands or swollen lymph nodes. 
  • a diffuse rash.
  • fatigue.
  • weakness.
  • pain, including joint pain.
  • muscle aches.
  • a sore throat.
  • thrush, or a yeast infection.
  • unintentional weight loss, with advancing HIV.

Late-stage HIV infection.

If a person with HIV does not receive effective treatment, the virus weakens the body’s ability to fight infection, exposing it to serious illnesses. When CD4 cells are severely depleted, at fewer than 200 cells per cubic millimeter, a doctor can diagnose AIDS, which is sometimes called stage 3 HIV. The presence of certain opportunistic infections, involving bacteria, viruses, fungi, or mycobacteria, would also help a doctor identify AIDS.

Symptoms of AIDS can include:

  • blurred vision.
  • a dry cough.
  • night sweats.
  • white spots on the tongue or mouth.
  • shortness of breath, or dyspnea. 
  • swollen glands lasting for weeks.
  • diarrhea, which is usually persistent or chronic.
  • a fever of over 100°F (37°C) that lasts for weeks.
  • continuous fatigue.
  • unintentional weight loss.

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