HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that affects the human immune system, reducing the number of T-lymphocytes (cells that fight infections) and, thereby, reducing the body’s ability to resist various diseases.
In its development of HIV, there are five periods: incubation, primary manifestations, latent, secondary diseases, terminal (AIDS) – lethal stage.
HIV is transmitted through body fluids in four main ways. Most often, HIV is transmitted through sexual contact with an infected partner, since the virus can enter the body during sexual intercourse. Contact with infected blood also transmits HIV. Often, HIV spreads to intravenous drug users who share a common syringe or needle, containing even a small amount of blood from an infected person. Infected pregnant women can transmit the virus to the child during pregnancy and childbirth; such “vertical” transmission of the virus occurs in about a quarter or a third of infected pregnant women. HIV can also reach the baby by feeding it with milk from an infected mother.
The goal of HIV treatment is to minimize the number of viruses in the blood for as long as possible. Currently, antiviral drugs for HIV treatment are divided into three groups and are used in so-called high-performance antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regimens, including a combination of at least three different drugs. The newest cures for HIV make it possible to increase the effectiveness of treatment, but without careful care of one’s health, even the best medicine for AIDS will not save you from danger.
Anti-HIV agents (also called antiretroviral drugs) are used to control HIV replication and slow the development of HIV-associated diseases. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is the recommended treatment for HIV infection. HAART includes a daily intake of three or more anti-HIV drugs. Anti-HIV drugs cannot be cured of HIV infection, and patients taking this therapy can still transmit HIV to others.