HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a disease that can be contracted by any person due to an exchange of bodily fluids like blood, semen or breast milk with an infected person.
Hence HIV cannot be transmitted through air or touch or even shared cutlery. Using condom during sex and using new and unused injections can help in avoiding contraction of HIV. However, unprotected sex and breastfeeding can lead to a spread of HIV.
If HIV is not treated, it can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Once you have HIV in your body, you will have it for life. It attacks the immune system of the body especially the cells that help in fighting against infections i.e. CD4 cells. Over time, and if not treated, HIV destroys the CD4 cells so badly that the body cannot fight against these infections. Hence, the body tends to acquire cancer or other infections that weakens the body severely. AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection.
So far, there is no permanent cure for HIV infections but proper medical care can control this virus. Antiretroviral therapy or ART is used to treat HIV. This medicine has proved to be highly effective in prolonging the lives of many people who were had HIV infection. If the treatment is started immediately after contracting the virus, it can not only help in keeping the infected people healthy but also reduce the chances of spreading the infection. The ART treatment was introduced in the mid-1990s and with this treatment people with HIV infections can live as long as people who are not infected by HIV. However, before the introduction of this treatment, the progress from HIV to AIDS was as fast as just a few years.
A person can live a long and healthy life even after contracting HIV just by following some of the precautions: