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  • HIV Prevention
  • HIV Testing and Counselling​
  • HIV Treatment​
  • Opportunistic Infection
  • IndiaHIV

What are the symptoms of AIDS?

There are no common symptoms for individuals diagnosed with AIDS. When immune system damage is more severe, people may experience opportunistic infection. Most of these more severe infections, diseases and symptoms fall under the Centers for Disease Control's definition of full-blown "AIDS." Interim WHO clinical staging of HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS case definitions for surveillance (2005): ​ Primary HIV infection - may be asymptomatic or experienced as Acute retroviral syndrome Clinical stage
1 - asymptomatic or generalized swelling of the lymph nodes Clinical stage
2 - includes minor weight loss, minor mucocutaneous manifestations, and recurrent upper respiratory tract infections Clinical stage
3 - includes unexplained chronic diarrhoea, unexplained persistent fever, oral candidiasis or leukoplakia, severe bacterial infections, pulmonary tuberculosis, and acute necrotizing inflammation in the mouth. Some persons with clinical stage 3 have AIDS. Clinical stage 4 - includes 22 opportunistic infections or cancers related to HIV. All persons with clinical stage 4 have AIDS.

Primary HIV infection

Primary HIV infection is the first stage of HIV disease, when the virus first establishes itself in the body.

Up to 70% of people newly infected with HIV will experience some "flu-like" symptoms. These symptoms, which usually last no more than a few days, might include fevers, chills, night sweats and rashes (not cold-like symptoms). The remaining percentages of people either do not experience "acute infection," or have symptoms so mild that they may not notice them.

What are the symptoms of HIV?

 The following may be warning signs of infection with HIV: Rapid weight loss Dry cough Recurring fever or profuse night sweats Profound and unexplained fatigue Swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week White spots or unusual blemishes on the tongue, in the mouth, or in the throat Pneumonia Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids Memory loss, depression and other neurological disorders. But, one should not assume to be infected with HIV if he/she has any of these symptoms. Each of these symptoms could be related to other illnesses. How long does it take HIV to cause AIDS? The time to develop AIDS varies greatly from person to person and can depend on many factors, including a person's health status and their health-related behaviors. The majority of people infected with HIV, if not treated, develop signs of HIV-related illness within 5-10 years.

What is HIV?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus is passed from one person to another through blood, using shared needles and sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding. People with HIV have, what is called HIV infection. Most of these people develop AIDS as a result of HIV infection.​

Is there a vaccine for HIV/AIDS?

While there is currently no vaccine for HIV/AIDS, research is under way. Many candidate vaccines are presently undergoing either phase I or phase II clinical trials in various countries, including Thailand in South-East Asia. These will be followed by field trials in the community to determine efficacy, which is a time consuming process and will take another 3-5 years or more.

Can male circumcision provide protection against HIV infection?

Yes, the interior side of the foreskin has a mucosal surface, which is more susceptible to trauma than the tougher skin of the penile shaft or the glans. The foreskin also contains high levels of HIV target cells such as Langerhan’s cells.​

How effective are condom in preventing HIV?

Consistent and correct use of Latex condoms is fully effective in preventing the spread of HIV through the sexual route.

What Can I Do To Avoid Getting HIV Infection?

Use condoms every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex. Unless you're 100% sure your sexual partner is not infected with HIV or other STDs,

If you use spermicidal (birth control) foams and jellies, use them along with condoms, not in place of condoms. The effectiveness of spermicidal in preventing HIV is unknown.

If you are a drug user, Never share needles. Avoid mixing alcohol or other drugs with sexual activities-they might cloud your judgment and lead you to engage in unsafe sexual practices.

Is it safe to work with someone infected with HIV?

Ans. Yes. Most workers face no risk of getting the virus while doing their work. The virus is mainly transmitted through the transfer of blood or sexual fluids. Since contact with blood or sexual fluids is not part of most people's work, most workers are safe.​

How well does HIV survive outside the body?

HIV does not survive for very long outside of the human body. HIV is unable to reproduce outside its living host, except under laboratory conditions. Therefore, it does not spread or maintain infectiousness outside its host.

Can I get infection from getting a tattoo and through body piercing?

Tattooing, ear piercing, acupuncture and some kind of dental work all involve instruments that must be sterile to avoid infection.​

Can injections transmit HIV?

Yes, if the injecting equipment is contaminated with blood containing HIV. Avoid injections unless absolutely necessary. If you must have an injection, make sure the needle and syringe come straight from a sterile package or have been sterilised properly; a needle and syringe that has been cleaned and then boiled for 20 minutes is ready for reuse. Finally, if you inject drugs of whatever kind, never use anyone else's injecting equipment.​

Are patients at dentist’s and doctor’s clinic at risk for getting HIV infection?

Although HIV transmission is possible in healthcare settings, it is extremely rare. Medical experts emphasise that the careful practice of infection control procedures, including universal precautions, protects patients as well as healthcare providers from possible HIV infection in medical and dental offices.​

Are health care workers at risk of getting HIV/AIDS at work?

The risk of health care workers getting HIV on the job is very low, especially if they carefully follow universal precautions (i.e., using protective practices and personal protective equipment to prevent HIV and other blood-borne infections).

Can I get HIV infection through blood transfusion?

Yes, if the blood contains HIV. In many places blood is now screened for HIV before it is transfused.​

Can HIV be transmitted through breast feeding?

Yes. The virus has been found in breast milk in low concentrations and studies have shown that children of HIV-infected mothers can get HIV infection through breast milk. Breast milk, however, has many substances in it that protect an infant's health and the benefits of breast-feeding for both mother and child are well recognized. The slight risk of an infant becoming infected with HIV through breast-feeding is therefore thought to be outweighed by the benefits of breast-feeding.​

Can a mother transmit HIV to her unborn child?

HIV-infected mother can infect the child in her womb through her blood. The baby is more at risk if the mother has been recently infected or is in a later stage of AIDS. Transmission can also occur at the time of birth when the baby is exposed to the mother's blood.

Can I get HIV from body fluids like saliva and tears?

Although small amounts of HIV have been found in body fluids like saliva, faeces, urine and tears, there is no evidence that HIV can spread through these body fluids.​

Can I get HIV from anal sex?

Yes, it is possible for either sex partner to become infected with HIV during anal sex. Having unprotected (without a condom) anal sex is considered to be a very risky behavior. The person receiving the semen is at greater risk of getting HIV because the lining of the rectum is thin and may allow the virus to enter the body during anal sex. However, a person who inserts his penis into an infected partner also is at risk because HIV can enter through the urethra (the opening at the tip of the penis) or through small cuts, abrasions or open sores on the penis.​

What is drug resistance?

Drug resistance occurs when a virus is able to adapt, grow and multiply even in the presence of drugs that usually kill it.  Drug resistance reduces the ability of ARV drugs to block the replication of HIV.  In some people on HAART, the virus mutates and becomes highly resistant to current medications.

What is DIC? Where are they located?

Drop in centers are places that provides a safe place for social activities, rest and interaction with other.  For details on the locations visit:

What is the role of ICTC in the prevention of HIV/AIDS?

As the HIV problem intensifies, the issues of care and support for affected individuals, and prevention of HIV transmission to those who are not affected, become even more critical. Integrated Counselling and Testing (ICT) is now seen as a key entry point for a range of interventions in HIV prevention and care. It provides people with an opportunity to learn and accept their HIV sero status in a confidential and enabling environment and to cope with the stress arising out of HIV infection. ICT should become an integral part of HIV prevention programmes, as it is a relatively cost-effective intervention in preventing HIV transmission.​

What is ICTC? Where are they located?

ICTC stands for Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre. For details on the locations, visit​.

Are pregnant women tested for HIV?

Ans. Pregnant women are not automatically tested for HIV. In some ante-natal clinics the test is offered and in others women have to ask for it. All pregnant women can have an HIV test. A woman will never be tested without her consent. If a woman is not sure what the arrangements are at her ante-natal clinic, she can ask her doctor or midwife about an HIV test.

Can a baby take HIV test?

Yes, but it will not necessarily show whether the baby is infected. This is because the test is for HIV antibodies and all babies born to mothers with HIV are born with HIV antibodies. Babies who are not infected lose their antibodies by the time they are about 18 months old. However most babies can be diagnosed as either infected or uninfected by the time they are three months old by using a different test, called a PCR test. The PCR test is more sensitive than the HIV test, and is not used in the standard HIV testing of adults. It looks for the presence of HIV itself, not antibodies.

How long after a possible exposure should I wait to get tested for HIV?

The tests commonly used to detect HIV infection actually look for antibodies produced by your body to fight HIV. Most people will develop detectable antibodies within 3 months after infection, the average being 25 days. In rare cases, it can take up to 6 months.
For this reason, it is recommended to test 6 months after the last possible exposure (unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex or sharing needles). It would be extremely rare to take longer than 6 months to develop detectable antibodies. 

Where can I get tested for HIV?

Many places provide testing for HIV infection. Common testing locations include local health departments, offices of private doctors, hospitals, and sites specifically set up to provide HIV testing. It is important to seek testing at a place that also provides counseling about HIV and AIDS. 
Counselors can answer any questions you might have about risky behavior and ways you can protect yourself and others in the future. In addition, they can help you understand the meaning of the test results and describe what AIDS-related resources are available in the local area.

Is there a test for HIV?

Yes. Since the virus attaches and hides itself within the white blood cells and cannot be seen, the test (called an HIV antibody test) will detect antibodies produced by your body to combat the HIV virus.​

How can I tell if I have HIV infection?

The only way to determine for sure whether you are infected is to be tested for HIV infection. You cannot rely on symptoms to know whether or not you are infected with HIV. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all for many years.​

What can a HIV +ve person do to stay health?

Emotional support may be very important for HIV-positive people because it breaks the isolation and provides a safe way of sharing both feelings and practical information .
Medical Care: Once you find a doctor or clinic, your main objective is to get an evaluation of your general health and immune function. ​Many doctors do the following:
Administer lab tests to evaluate your immune system.
Determine if you have other diseases that might become problematic in the future, including syphilis, TB, hepatitis-B, and toxoplasmosis.
If you are already infected with one or more of these other illnesses, there may be treatments or prophylaxis available to prevent it from becoming more serious or recurring in the future.
If you're not already infected, doctors may be able to prevent future infection by: administering vaccines. Many HIV positive people get a hepatitis-B vaccine and bacterial pneumonia vaccines, since contracting these diseases could be dangerous for immune suppressed people.
Prescribing antiviral treatments and protease inhibitors when tests show immunes system impairment.
Scheduling regular checkups. Checkups may be scheduled every three to six months. Some people need more frequent check-ups, particularly when they are starting new antiviral drugs.

Where can I get ART drugs?

You can get these drugs at ART centers. For details visit,​.

What is ART?

ART is anti retroviral therapy. Anti retroviral therapy can prolong the time HIV infection and the onset of AIDS. Some of the currently licensed anti-retroviral drugs are Zidovudine, Lamivudine and Stavudine etc. These drugs tend to develop resistance quickly with single-drug therapy. The emphasis is now on giving a combination of drugs including newer drugs called protease inhibitors.​

Is there a treatment for HIV/AIDS?

Currently available drugs do not cure HIV infection but they do prevent the development of AIDS. They can stop the virus being made in the body and this stops the virus from damaging the immune system, but these drugs cannot eliminate HIV from the body.

Is there a cure for HIV/AIDS?

At this time, there is no cure for HIV. HIV is a virus, and medical science has never found a cure for any virus. This has made the search for a cure for HIV very difficult.​

What type of TB is more commonly seen among HIV patients?

Pulmonary TB is still the most common form of TB even in HIV-infected patients. Many studies have shown that pulmonary involvement occurs in 70-90 percent of all HIV/AIDS patients with TB.

What are the signs and symptoms of TB?

As the HIV infection progresses, the CD4 lymphocytes decline in number and function. Therefore, the immune system is less able to prevent the growth and spread of the TB bacilli. As a result, disseminated and extra-pulmonary TB disease is more commonly seen in the later stages.

How does infection with TB affect HIV/AIDS scenario?

TB shortens the survival of patients with HIV infection, accelerates the progression of HIV to AIDS as observed by a six- to seven-fold increase in the HIV viral load in TB patients and is the cause of death for one out of every three people with AIDS worldwide. Effective treatment using DOTS not only prolongs the survival of patients living with AIDS, but also improves their quality of life.

What are the common opportunistic infections encountered by AIDS patients?

The common opportunistic infections encountered by HIV/AIDS patients are: 

Tuberculosis (Pulmonary and extra-pulmonary)


Pneumocysitis carini



Cryptosporidial Diarrhoea

Cytomegolo virus infections

P. Marneffea infections (a fungus infection in North Eastern part of the country) 

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