AIDS: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is AIDS?

AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a chronic, potenially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is a virus most commonly caught by having sex without a condom. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. The virus attacks the immune system, and weakens your ability to fight infections and diseases. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, when your body can no longer fight life-threatening infections


  • Blood test
  • Saliva test
  • Cd4 count
  • Viral load
  • Drug resistance

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  Does abstinence in AIDS include anal sex?
Abstinence in AIDS means not engaging in any form of sexual activity where there is a risk of exchanging fluids (semen, vaginal fluids, rectal mucous). This includes anal, oral, and vaginal sex.

Q2.  Can I get HIV from hot tubs or steam rooms?
No, HIV does not survive outside the body, and fluids like sweat and saliva that are typically secreted during these activities have never been shown to transmit HIV.

Q3.  I had sex with someone I think could be at risk for HIV, and the condom broke? What should I do?
If it?s been less than 72 hours since the condom broke, you may be able to take medication that could keep you from getting infected with HIV, even if your partner is HIV-positive. Call your doctor or your local health department immediately and ask about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Do not wait for the investigation reports to arrive. If it?s been longer than 72 hours, PEP will not protect you from HIV, and you will need to explore HIV testing options. In most cases, you will have to wait at least 2 weeks after a possible exposure before an HIV test can provide accurate results. The same line of advice goes for accidental HIV infected needle pricks.

Q4.  How can I tell if my medications are working and decreasing my viral load?
Your provider should closely monitor your viral load during the first few weeks after you start your medication regimen. Typically, if your medications are appropriate, your viral load should start to reach undetectable levels by 16-24 weeks after you begin treatment

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