The immune system’s cells are attacked by the human immune-deficiency virus (HIV). As the name implies, immune deficiency virus cause deficiency of certain immune cells.
Our body is able to fight against infections thanks to CD4+ cells. But when the virus attacks the body becomes less resilient and more vulnerable when the count of these cells decreases, making the body susceptible to various infections and illnesses. Body fluids from the infected individual, such as blood and sperm, are the major way that HIV spreads. When a person gets in touch with any of these fluids, he/she becomes infected and gets the disease.
HIV infection can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome if left untreated (AIDS). Therefore, immediate treatment is required after diagnosis of the virus. In order to know if a person is carrier or infected HIV test is required and after the test treatment is done.
Antiretroviral treatment (ART, often known as HIV medication) is therefore required to treat HIV in order to lower the viral load and stop HIV from spreading to the patient’s sexual partners.
How is the HIV virus spread?
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is spread by direct contact with certain bodily fluids of an HIV-positive individual. The following are these fluids:
- Body fluid e.g., blood and plasma
- Fluids from urine
- Milk of mother
- Semen from men
- Sexual fluids during intercourse
Only when the fluid enters an HIV-negative person’s circulation either through wounds, open sores, direct injection, or a mucosal membrane only then transmission can take place.
The following are the most typical methods of HIV transmission.
- having anal/vaginal intercourse with a person who is HIV positive
Here are some less typical approaches:
- When a woman is pregnant or nursing
- Sharing needles with an HIV-positive individual
- Obtaining blood products that are HIV-infected
- Using a needle that is tainted with HIV
- Orally having sex
What distinguishes HIV-1 and HIV-2 from one another?
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) comes in two primary varieties and that are: HIV-1 and HIV-2. The following are some of the distinctions between HIV-1 and HIV-2.
HIV-1 is the most prevalent kind of HIV and accounts for 95 percent of all infections, whereas HIV-2 is very uncommon and less virulent.
The majority of HIV-2 cases are found in West Africa and the surrounding nations.
Compared to HIV-1, HIV-2 is less lethal and advances more slowly.
There is just one antibody test available now that can differentiate between HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies.
What HIV symptoms are present in an infected person?
Depending on the individual and the stage of the condition they are in, not everyone will have the same symptoms.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has three phases. The symptoms vary depending on the stage. These consist of
Acute HIV infection in Stage 1
This phase begins two to four weeks following HIV infection. The signs and symptoms resemble the common flu, which lasts a week or two. Symptoms consist of:
- unwell throat
- enlarged glands
- muscle ache
- uneasy stomach
- joint pains and aches
HIV infection in stage 2 is ongoing.
At this point, the virus is just mildly multiplying and increasing its population and there may be no symptoms at all means the person seems perfectly healthy but is carrier. The person can stay in this stage for 10 to 15 years without receiving HIV therapy. The virus is still active at this point though.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, stage three (AIDS)
AIDS develops from HIV if it is not treated. AIDS can impair the immune system, which can lead to a number of opportunistic illnesses. Symptoms consist of
- Unaccounted for weight loss
- being quickly exhausted
- persistent fever
- more than a week-long bout of diarrhea
- mouth, throat, or genital sores
- persistent lymph gland swelling in the neck, groin, or armpits
- loss of memory, depression
- sweats at night
- blotches of purple skin that won’t go away
- bleeding or bruising
What is HIV I and II test?
Your blood is examined for HIV-1 antibodies during the test to check whether you are carrier of the virus or not. Presence of the antibodies is the indication of the virus presence.
When you are exposed to HIV and gets, the virus that causes AIDS, your body produces these antibodies.
All HIV antibody tests will search for HIV-1, which is more prevalent than HIV-2 in the United States. For the purpose of detecting both HIV antibodies and p24 antigens, combination tests have been created. The HIV-1/2 antigen/antibody combination immunoassay test is the HIV antibody test that the CDC recommends.
The CDC recommended the following follow-up exams if you test HIV positive:
Immunoassay for HIV-1/HIV-2 antibody differentiation. This test determines if you have HIV-1 or HIV-2 and confirms your HIV status.
NAT for HIV-1 (nucleic acid test). If the initial antigen/antibody combination immunoassay test results are positive and the antibody differentiation immunoassay results are negative or indeterminate, you will require this test to establish if you have HIV-1 infection.
Western blot and other follow-up tests like ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) may still be employed. However, they are less frequent now than they formerly were.
I need this test—why?
If you exhibit HIV-1 infection symptoms, you could require this test. Early signs, which resemble the flu, include:
- A stuffy or runny nose
- A throat-ache
- Joint and muscle pain
If you have had unprotected intercourse and wish to know if you are HIV-positive, you may also undergo this test. Since the virus might infect you even if you don’t feel unwell, testing is essential to safeguard both you and other people. Every three to six months, guys who have intercourse with other men should be tested.
You could also be subjected to this test if you:
- Inject substances using shared needles. Sharing needles has been connected to the spread of HIV infections.
- Receive a different sexually transmitted illness diagnosis (STI). This is so because STIs typically imply the potential for risky conduct.
- Are expecting. Even if a previous pregnancy’s test came out negative, pregnant women should still be tested every time they get pregnant.
What further tests may I have in addition to this one?
If your doctor thinks you have an acute HIV infection, they could also request viral load testing.
What do the findings of my test mean?
The test procedure, your age, gender, health history, and other factors may affect the test findings. Your test findings might not indicate an issue with you. Find out what your test findings signify for you by asking your healthcare practitioner.
In order to confirm that you have HIV infection, you will need to do one of the follow-up tests if this test results in a positive result for HIV.
Your doctor might advise that you meet with an HIV counsellor based on your test findings.
How is this test carried out?
A blood sample is used for the test. Blood is taken from a vein in your hand or arm using a needle.
Is there a danger involved with this test?
A blood test with a needle has various dangers. The perils of blood test include bruising, bleeding, infections, and dizziness. You could experience a mild sting or pain when the needle pricks your arm or hand. The area could be painful thereafter. Chances of bruise or swelling also occur in some cases.
What may skew the findings of my test?
Timing is crucial. Your body needs time to create antibodies after being exposed to a virus like HIV. A false negative result may result from taking the test too soon after exposure. Most individuals produce antibodies 3 to 12 weeks after contracting the infection.