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Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Causes

HIV can be transmitted in several ways, including: sexual transmission, transmission through infected blood, transmission through needle sharing, transmission through accidental needle sticks, transmission from mother to child, and rarely, organ or tissue transplants.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Definition

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that can result to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Diagnosis

HIV is diagnosed by testing the blood or oral mucus for the presence of antibodies to the virus.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms of HIV differ, depending on the phase of infection. When first infected with HIV, there may be no symptoms at all, although it's more common to develop a brief flu-like illness two to six weeks after becoming infected. But because the signs and symptoms of an initial infection — which may include fever, headache, sore throat, swollen lymph glands and rash — are similar to those of other diseases, the person might not realize he's been infected with HIV.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Treatment

There is currently no vaccine or cure for HIV, however, an antiretroviral treatment, known as post-exposure prophylaxis, is believed to decrease the risk of infection if begun directly after exposure. Current treatment for HIV infection is made up of highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART. Current HAART choices are combinations (or "cocktails") consisting of at least three drugs belonging to at least two types, or "classes," of antiretroviral agents.

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