HIV STD is a viral infection that attacks the body’s immune system, weakening it and leading to frequent bouts of illness that increase in severity. Scientists are making headway in finding a cure for HIV/AIDS, but thus far, it can only be managed. HIV is often sexually transmitted, but it is not strictly an STD.
How It Is Transmitted
HIV is transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids. In the majority of cases, HIV is transmitted during sexual activity. Vaginal, anal, and oral sex can all result in the transmission of HIV. Other ways the disease can be passed from person to person are through sharing needles, having contact with broken skin, ingesting blood, or ingesting breast milk.
Who It Affects
HIV can be transmitted to anyone who comes into contact with specific bodily fluids of an infected person. Those who are at the greatest risk of contracting the disease are those who engage in unprotected sex, who have multiple partners, and who partake in anal sex.
When HIV STD is contracted, symptoms tend to show up within a few weeks. However, these symptoms tend to be written off as other illnesses, and oftentimes, they are; this is because HIV weakens the immune system, making it easier to catch colds, the flu, and other ailments. Common symptoms of HIV include:
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
Once the disease progresses into AIDS, it can have the following symptoms:
- Rapid weight loss
- Persistent fever
- Extreme fatigue
- Swollen glands
- Diarrhea that lasts seven days or more
- Memory loss
- Neurologic disorders
When left untreated, HIV turns into AIDS, and from there, death is highly likely. Lesser complications are still highly unpleasant and include frequent bouts of severe illness, extended hospital stays, and an inability to live a functional life.
Because the potential consequences of contracting HIV are so grave, anyone who is sexually active should be tested for it at least once a year.