HIV ( human immunodeficiency virus ) is a virus that damages the body's immune system by infecting and destroying CD4 cells. If more and more CD4 cells are destroyed, the body's resistance will weaken so that it is vulnerable to various diseases.
HIV that is not treated immediately will develop into a serious condition called AIDS ( acquired immunodeficiency syndrome ). AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. At this stage, the body's ability to fight infection is completely lost.
HIV transmission occurs through contact with body fluids of the patient, such as blood, sperm, vaginal fluid, anal fluid, and breast milk. Be aware that HIV is not transmitted through air, water, sweat, tears, saliva, mosquito bites, or physical contact.
HIV is a lifelong disease. In other words, the HIV virus will remain in the patient's body for the rest of his life. Although there is no treatment method to overcome HIV, there are drugs that can slow down the development of this disease and can increase the life expectancy of the sufferer.
HIV and AIDS in Indonesia
Based on data from the Indonesian Ministry of Health in 2019, there are more than 50,000 cases of HIV infection in Indonesia. Of these, HIV cases most often occur in heterosexuals, followed by men who have sex with men (MSM) or homosexuals, injectable NAPZA users (injectors), and sex workers.
Meanwhile, the number of AIDS patients in Indonesia tends to increase. In 2019, it was recorded that there were more than 7,000 AIDS sufferers with the death toll reaching more than 600 people.
However, from 2005 to 2019, the number of deaths due to AIDS in Indonesia continued to decline. This indicates that treatment in Indonesia has succeeded in reducing the number of deaths due to AIDS.
Symptoms of HIV and AIDS
Most sufferers experience a mild flu 2-6 weeks after being infected with HIV. Flu can be accompanied by other symptoms and can last for 1–2 weeks. After the flu gets better, other symptoms may not be seen for years even though the HIV virus continues to damage the immune system of the sufferer, until HIV progresses to the advanced stage of AIDS.
In most cases, a person only found out that he was infected with HIV after going to the doctor for a serious illness caused by a weakened immune system. The serious diseases referred to include chronic diarrhea, pneumonia, or brain toxoplasmosis .
Causes and Risk Factors of HIV and AIDS
HIV disease is caused by human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, according to the name of the disease. If left untreated, HIV can worsen and develop into AIDS.
HIV transmission can occur through vaginal or anal sex, the use of needles, and blood transfusions. Although rare, HIV can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
Some factors that can increase the risk of transmission are as follows:
- Having sex with alternate partners and without using a condom
- Use the syringe together
- Doing work that involves contact with human body fluids without using adequate personal safety equipment
Consult a doctor if you suspect you have been exposed to HIV through the means above, especially if you experience flu symptoms within 2-6 weeks afterwards.
HIV and AIDS treatment
Patients who have been diagnosed with HIV should immediately seek treatment in the form of antiretroviral therapy (ARV). ARVs work to prevent the HIV virus from multiplying so that it does not attack the immune system.
Prevention of HIV and AIDS
Here are some ways that can be done to avoid and minimize HIV transmission:
- Not having sex before marriage
- Do not alternate sexual partners
- Use a condom when having sex
- Avoiding drug use, especially injecting drugs
- Get the right information related to HIV, how it is transmitted, prevention, and treatment, especially for teenagers