Early Symptomatic Hiv Infection Health And Social Care Essay

Acute HIV infection

Asymptomatic HIV infection

Early symptomatic HIV infection

AIDS-(acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the final stage of HIV infection, which causes severe damage to the immune system.

The HIV epidemic remains a major global public health challenge, with more than 34 million people living with HIV worldwide.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 60 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and approximately 30 million people have died of AIDS.

Facts about HIV by WHO in 2011 report:

34 million people are living with HIV consisting of 3.3 million children < 15 years and 16.7 million women.

2.5 million new infections of HIV in year 2011

1.7 million people died of AIDS in 2011

Each day almost 7000 new infections of HIV occur and 3950 more people are on anti retroviral therapy.

Sub Saharan Africa is worst affected by HIV, 23.5 million people have HIV infection.


HIV has been found in saliva, tears, nervous system tissue and spinal fluid, blood, semen (including pre-seminal fluid), vaginal fluid, and breast milk. However, only blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk has been shown to transmit infection to others.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can spread by the following:

Through sexual contact: including any of oral, vaginal, or anal sex

Through blood: through blood transfusions, or needle sharing

From mother to child: a pregnant woman can pass on the virus to her fetus through connected blood circulation, or a nursing mother can pass it to her baby through her breast milk

Rare ways the virus may be spread include:

Accidental needle injury

Artificial insemination with infected semen

Organ transplantation with infected organs

It is mandatory for blood banks and organ donor programs to screen donors, blood, and tissues thoroughly for preventing the risk of infection. It is impossible to transmit HIV in blood or organ donor as they are not in direct contact with receiver.

HIV infection cannot transmit from:

Casual contact such as hugging


Participation in sports

Touching items that were in contact with a infected person

People at highest risk for getting HIV include:

Drug users who share needles

Infants born to mothers with HIV who didn't receive HIV therapy during pregnancy

People who have unprotected sex, especially with those who have other high-risk behaviors/ activities such as injection drug use or anal sex , those are HIV-positive, or those who have AIDS


People with HIV may not have any symptoms for years, but they can still pass the infection to others. After infection, the HIV can take up to 3 months for a blood test to recognize infection of HIV.  

Symptoms related to HIV are result of different infections in the body due to weak immunity. They include:




Frequent vaginal yeast infections


Mouth sores, including yeast infection (thrush)

Rashes of different types, including seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis

Sore throat

Swollen lymph glands

Exams and Tests

The HIV ELISA and HIV Western blot tests detect antibodies against HIV virus in the blood. Both tests must be positive to confirm an HIV infection.

If the test is negative (no antibodies found) and person have risk factors for HIV infection, he should be tested again in 3 months.

If the HIV ELISA and HIV Western blot tests are positive, other blood tests can be done to determine quantity of HIV infection like CBC and CD4 cell counts .

A lower CD4 cell count may be a sign that the virus is damaging patient’s immune system.


Doctors usually recommend medicine for patients who have a CD4 count below 500 cells/mm3 . Some people, including pregnant women and people with kidney or neurological problems related to HIV, may need treatment regardless of their CD4 count.

A combination of several antiretroviral drugs, called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), helps in suppressing the virus from replicating & improving T-cell counts. This is measured by the viral load – free virus present in blood. It helps the immune system to recover from the HIV infection.

It is extremely important for people with HIV to take all doses of their medications to avoid resistance. Pregnant women with HIV infection are treated to reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to their babies.


Almost all people infected with HIV can develop AIDS if not treated. However, there is a small group of people who develop AIDS very slowly, or never at all. These patients are called long-term nonprogressors.

Possible Complications


Chronic weight loss from HIV infection

HIV dementia

HIV lipodystrophy

Opportunistic infections

Bacillary angiomatosis


Cytomegalovirus infection

Cryptococcal infection

Cryptosporidium enterocolitis (or other protozoal infections)

Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection

Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (previously called Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia or PCP)

Salmonella infection in the bloodstream


Tuberculosis (in lungs or may spread throughout the body)

Viral infection of the brain


Avoid sharing needles or syringes. Always use new needles.

Avoid oral, vaginal, or anal contact with semen from HIV-infected people.

Always use condoms if sex partner has multiple sex partners, if his sexual practice is unsafe or unknown, if he injects drugs through injections.

Avoid unprotected anal intercourse, as it causes small cracks in the rectal tissues. From these cracks infected partner's semen containing HIV may enter directly into the other partner's blood.

People with AIDS or who have had positive HIV antibody tests should not donate blood, plasma, body organs, or sperm. They should use condoms or other barrier methods during sexual activity.