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.
In 2013, 344 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Ireland, giving a rate of 7.5 per 100,000 population.258 Males and 86 females.Average age of new diagnosis was 34.The highest proportion of new diagnoses in 2013 (46.2%) were among men who have sex with men (MSM).Ireland was reported as the country of birth for 141 new diagnoses (41%) with 174 reportring as not born in Ireland.Of the newly diagnoses in 2013 with CD4 count available (88%), 50% were reported as late presenters (CD4 count of <350 cells/mm3), compared with 48% in 2012 and 52% in 2011. The proportion of those diagnosed late varied by risk group and was highest among heterosexuals (59%) and PWID (56%). 25% of people were severely immuno-compromised at diagnosis. 27 cases (8%) were diagnosed with an AIDS defining illness at the time of their HIV diagnosis.
Many of those infected with HIV or AIDS are dissatisfied with health services provided by the state. They claim that standard protocols of care are not in place, services vary and those infected are demanding more information.. It has to be ensured that all persons with HIV disease have access to state-of-the-art treatment, including experimental treatments and monitoring tests - (ultrasensitive tests, genotype and phenotype testing). Over the past two decades, HIV infection has been added to the serious risks of injection drug use, and the diffusion of HIV associated with drug injecting not only creates medical and social problems for the millions of injecting drug users worldwide but for society at large. Yet many drug dependent people living with HIV/AIDS do not enjoy equitable access to HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support services for HIV/AIDS as a result of stigma and discrimination, of their own reluctance to seek treatment, and of the unavailability of HIV/AIDS treatment in programmes for injecting drug users. HIV is a virus which attacks the immune system, and weakens your ability to fight infections and disease.