HIV/AIDS is often referred to as a silent epidemic because of its long incubation period. It means the disease may have infected a person for years already without any concrete symptoms. A person who is positive for HIV/AIDS may even infect other persons with this illness if he/she is unaware of his/her own condition.
The infection of HIV can be divided into various phases. However, in most cases, these phases are hard to discern from one another. The health of the infected person is actually dependent on the immune system of the individual which may also dictate the complications that might take place.
These days, HIV/AIDS is considered a chronic disease since an infected person may live for several more years due to the benefits of antiretroviral therapy. While the symptoms of HIV/AIDS are really hard to determine, below are some of the common things that happen to those who are infected by HIV/AIDS:
- Oral thrush
- Recurrent herpes infections
- Fever of unknown origin
- Persistent cough
- Weight loss. Those with HIV/AIDS can be observed to lose weight along the way since their immune system has been affected
- Fatigue. Most HIV/AIDS patients experience fatigue also because of the effects on their immune system
- Bacterial skin infections
- Night sweats
- Patients who are more advanced in the disease experience major problems due to opportunistic infections or cancers, such as:
- Cerebral toxoplasmosis
- Pneumocystis pneumonia
- Cytomegalovirus infection of retina or gut
- Disseminated Mycobacterium avium infection
- Kaposi's sarcoma which is a rare form of skin cancer
HIV/AIDS can be a very deceiving illness since a patient may remain very healthy for a long time with no symptoms at all although the virus is progressively destroying his immune defenses. This is what makes it hard to diagnose early. There are cases when the patients would be diagnosed when they are almost at the terminal phase making it really difficult to reconstitute, even partially, the immune system. With this, there is an apparent need to raise the awareness of the public about this disease. This disease is such a traitor and may infect other without them knowing it. The information of this disease must be widely spread especially among poor countries where the disease is rampant.
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