AIDS, or Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome, affects approximately 1.7 million people in the United States alone. One in five people are currently living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and are unaware of their condition. In the presence of such a serious epidemic, it’s important to know how it’s possible to catch the disease, and how to recognize the signs of contamination.
Gay and bisexual men of all races are the most severely affected by HIV/AIDS, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear if you don’t fall into this category. AIDS can be transmitted in various ways including intimate contact, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, injection and drug use, occupational exposure, and blood transfusion/organ transplants. With so many possible ways to become exposed to the virus, it’s not surprising that every 9.5 seconds, another person contracts HIV.
But what exactly is the HIV virus, how does it turn into AIDS, and what is happening within the body? Below is a breakdown of how this invasive disease tears apart the immune system leading to severe sickness and diminished health.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) weakens your immune system by destroying important cells that are vital in fighting disease and infection. HIV can hide for a very long time in the cells of your body, and works on destroying T-cells, or CD4 cells, that are necessary in order to fight off contaminates in the body. AIDS is the final stage of an HIV infection, and people with this disease usually have significantly damaged immune systems, putting them at risk for opportunistic infections (OIs). You will be diagnosed with AIDS if you have one or more OI, certain cancers, or a very low number of CD4 cells. Medical intervention and treatment is necessary in this state in order to prevent death, confirming how serious the disease can be.
If you think you may have contracted HIV, or simply want to get tested, Reddy Medical Group offers laboratory services in-house at all locations, producing test results in a matter of minutes. Don’t wait around with this dangerous disease. Get tested today.