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HIV / AIDS

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that causes HIV infection and AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). HIV, if untreated, leads to progressive failure of the immune system. As a result, opportunistic infections and sometimes cancer can attack the body, leading to significant disease and death.

HIV is transmitted from person to person through contact of bodily fluids, specifically blood, pre-ejaculate, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.

If you suspect you may have HIV then it is important to contact your doctor for further evaluation.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of HIV is made through testing. It is important to get tested for HIV. There are different testing techniques and different specific types of test. One type of test is through saliva. The other tests are blood tests. Depending on the test, it may only be positive up to 3 months after infection. More information can be found after discussing with a healthcare professional.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms may include the following, among others. Symptoms are nonspecific and further evaluation by a medical professional is imperative.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Chronic fatigue, headaches
  • Weight loss
  • Cough or shortness of breath, sore throat
  • Recurrent fevers, chills, and night sweats
  • Rash, sores, lesions of the mouth, nose or genitals, or under the skin
  • Swollen lymph nodes, muscle or joint pain

Prevention

Taking the proper precaution can eliminate or significantly reduce your chance of acquiring HIV. This includes avoiding contact with bodily fluids of others who may have HIV. It means avoiding drugs and not sharing needles with anybody. It can mean abstinence from sex, or using protective measures such as a condom.

Prevention starts with testing which is quick, easy and accessible.

For those at high risk such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, or those who inject drugs, there is also a preventive pill that one may take to reduce the chance of acquiring HIV.

Management

With proper management, we can limit progression of HIV to AIDS. This includes pharmacological therapy by a combination of drugs. Doctors can even test your virus to see which medicines are most effective for you. It is important to start treatment early, and never forget to take a dose.

Medical Marijuana

Patients living with HIV and AIDS can be certified for medical marijuana by an authorized provider in NY. Medical marijuana can potentially help sufferers alleviate the burden of HIV and AIDS.

Resources

Aids Map – https://www.aidsmap.com/

HIV.gov – https://www.hiv.gov/

CDC – Center for Disease Control – https://www.cdc.gov/actagainstaids/