HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This is something that develops into the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) over time and was first seen in 1981. There is a large history surrounding this and was originally named GRIT and noted in men who were homosexual.
However, it is now known that anybody can contract this disease. It is important to understand more about the disease and also know about the HIV symptoms in women.
Testing for HIV
The first blood test to help with diagnosing the condition was made available in 1985. This was designed to be able to measure the amount of antibodies compared to HIV that was in the immune system.
This was commonly known as the ELISA test but did not instantly mean that a person had HIV. Another test, the Western blot, was done afterwards.
There have been a number of tests that have been made available since but the antibody test is still the most common and preferred method. However, there is a saliva test for the antibodies, which will only take 20 minutes. However, it can often take some time for the antibodies to fight off HIV to appear, which leads to a problem of not catching it at first. But, it is possible to find the disease before the HIV symptoms in women appear.
How HIV is Transmitted
Contrary to popular belief, the virus cannot be passed on by sitting on a toilet seat or through sharing a drink. The disease is passed on from the blood and secretions from the genital area. The most common ways that it is passed on is through intercourse, oral sex and from sharing needles. Another way is when HIV positive women pass on the condition to a baby that they were carrying and is usually done during the delivery or breastfeeding period.
There are some people who will pass on the infection when there has been a break in the skin. The blood to blood contact is often enough to pass on the virus to someone else.
The best way of avoiding catching the virus is through abstinence or the practice of sex with a condom. However, both partners being tested for the disease is another option that many in a long term relationship will choose to do.
Another way to avoiding HIV is by not sharing needles from illegal drugs. There was a time when people got HIV from blood transfusions but this is no longer the case since the blood is tested beforehand.
The HIV Symptoms in Women
It takes several weeks before any tests will show up with being HIV positive, so it is important to know about the HIV symptoms in women to look out for. One of the most common is a flu-like illness developing just a few weeks after infection. This often leads to aches and pains, a fever and a sore throat. This will usually go away and is commonly linked to the immune system attempting to fight off the virus.
Not all of those infected with the virus will come out with the symptoms, which makes it very difficult for many to detect. The reason behind this is unknown and there is still research to find out whether this is a sign of how the virus reacts later in life.
After the primary phase of becoming infected, all those carrying HIV will live without any symptoms for months and possibly years. This leads to the cells declining without any warning that there is a problem. It usually takes between eight and 10 years for the virus to develop into AIDS and once that happens, any HIV treatment will not work.
There are some infected people who will notice that there are common illnesses that occur, such as thrush, weight loss and even just normal fungal infections. This is because the immune system is so busy working on HIV and struggling against it that other, smaller and more common problems, are not able to be fought against.
It is important to have yourself tested, if you do believe that there is a chance that you have HIV or are showing any HIV symptoms in women. This will help to get treatment as soon as possible to help live a life without the virus developing into AIDS.