AIDS is a syndrome caused by the HIV virus. It is when a person’s immune system is too weak to fight off many infections, and develops when the HIV infection is very advanced. This is the last stage of HIV infection where the body can no longer defend itself and may develop various diseases, infections and if left untreated, death. There is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS. However, with the right treatment and support, people can live long and healthy lives with HIV.
1. It may cause influenza-like illness, tuberculosis, opportunistic infections and tumors, pneumocystis pneumonia, severe weight loss, Kaposi's sarcoma. The time period usually ranges from 6 months (rarely) to 15+ years. HIV infection passes through a series of steps or stages before it turns into AIDS. These stages of infection as outlined in 1993 by the Centers for Disease Control. Seroconversion illness – this occurs in 1 to 6 weeks after acquiring the infection. The feeling is similar to a bout of flu.
2. Asymptomatic infection – After seroconversion, virus levels are low and replication continues slowly. CD4 and CD8 lymphocyte levels are normal. This stage has no symptoms and may persist for years together.
3. Persistent generalised lymphadenopathy (PGL) – The lymph nodes in these patients are swollen for three months or longer and not due to any other cause.
4. Symptomatic infection – This stage manifests with symptoms. In addition, there may be opportunistic infections. This collection of symptoms and signs is referred to as the AIDS-related complex (ARC) and is regarded as a prodrome or precursor to AIDS.
HIV epidemiology and suicide mortality, and summarizes studies on fear of AIDS in completed suicides in Finland. Finland has a low prevalence of HIV and a high suicide mortality. A 12-month nationwide suicide population, 1987-88 (n = 1397, all HIV negative) at the time of a sensational media campaign against HIV included 28 (2%) cases with fear of AIDS as a contributing factor. Triggers of fear could be classified in 20 cases: persistent symptoms in 10, casual sex contacts in eight, and a TV programme in two. The AIDS fear cases were younger, had more major depression and more health care contacts than the others. Suicidal fear and underlying depression were not being properly identified and treated. Despite recent improvement in media reporting, health education and identification of depression, clinical experience, help line calls and population surveys indicate that AIDS fear still persists in the population, but seems to be less often a contributing factor in committed suicides.
HIV virus has spread to every corner of the world. Luckily, the virus has been studied thoroughly, and also the developing countries benefit from the new treatments and diagnostics. Everyone should know the facts by now; HIV spreads through the transfer of blood, or bodily fluids involved in sexual interaction. There is no cure for HIV and untreated virus leads to AIDS, which is fatal. Still, in Finland almost two hundred new infections are found every year. The two major routes of HIV transmission are unsafe sex, and contaminated needles. The most common ways of preventing the spreading of the virus are giving information and advice on the matter, and giving away free condoms.