Hiv- Causes of Hiv, Aids and Risk Factors

By: peterhutch
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection has now spread to every country in the world and has infected more than 40 million people worldwide as of the end of 2003. More than 1.1 million people in the United States have been infected with HIV. The scourge of HIV has been particularly devastating in Sub-Saharan Africa. The proportion of adult women among those infected with HIV is increasing.

HIV is present in the blood and genital secretions of virtually all individuals infected with HIV, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms. The spread of HIV can occur when these secretions come in contact with tissues such as those lining the vagina, anal area, mouth, or eyes (the mucus membranes), or with a break in the skin, such as from a cut or puncture by a needle.

What are the early symptoms of HIV infection?

Many people do not develop any symptoms when they first become infected with HIV. Some people, however, get a flu-like illness within three to six weeks after exposure to the virus. This illness, called Acute HIV Syndrome, may include fever, headache, tiredness, nausea, diarrhoea and enlarged lymph nodes (organs of the immune system that can be felt in the neck, armpits and groin). These symptoms usually disappear within a week to a month and are often mistaken for another viral infection.

Neurological and psychiatric involvement: HIV infection may lead to a variety of neuropsychiatric sequelae, either by infection of the now susceptible nervous system by organisms, or as a direct consequence of the illness itself.

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by the single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii; it usually infects the brain causing toxoplasma encephalitis but it can infect and cause disease in the eyes and lungs

Risk Factors

Have unprotected sex with multiple partners. You're at risk whether you're heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. Unprotected sex means having sex without using a new latex or polyurethane condom every time.

Have unprotected sex with someone who is HIV-positive.

Have another sexually transmitted disease, such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea or bacterial vaginosis.

Low Status of Women: Infection rates have been on the increase among women and infants in some states. As in many other countries, unequal power relations and the low status of women, as expressed by limited access to human, financial, and economic assets, weakens the ability of women to protect themselves and negotiate safer sex, thereby increasing vulnerability.

Many of these risk factors are behavioral in nature. In other words, by avoiding high-risk behaviors, you can reduce or virtually eliminate your risk of HIV/AIDS infection. Learn the risk factors. If necessary, change your behavior.
Top Searches on
Stds
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Stds