Human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV)

What is HIV?

The human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) are two species of Lentivirus (a subgroup of retrovirus) that causes HIV infection and over time acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

AIDS is a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive. Without treatment, average survival time after infection with HIV is estimated to be 9 to 11 years, depending on the HIV subtype.

How HIV spreads

HIV is a sexually transmitted infection and occurs by contact with or transfer of blood, pre-ejaculate, semen, and vaginal fluids.

  • By blood products (unclean needles or unscreened blood).
  • By mother to baby by pregnancy, labor, or nursing.
  • By having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Till now no cure exists for AIDS, but strict adherence to antiretroviral regimens (ARVs) can dramatically slow the disease’s progress as well as prevent secondary infections and complications.

Symptoms of HIV

HIV symptoms can come up within a few weeks of infection, symptoms like;

  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat and fatigue can occur. When HIV is progress to AIDS, it symptoms include;
  • weight loss, fever or night sweats, fatigue and recurrent infections.

HIV destroys the immune system and shorten one’s life but having HIV is not a life sentence.

You can live long with HIV when you get tested, start treatment, and live a healthy life.


HIV can be prevented by:

  • Abstinence from sex .
  • By using condom and use a new condom every time you have sex.
  • Sex with single partner, don’t have multiple partners.
  • Always use clean needles.
  • Consider male circumcision.
  • Having a pregnant mother? get medical care right away if HIV positive.

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