HIV

What is Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a condition where the human immune system starts to fail and the body is susceptible to life threatening opportunistic infections.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse ( oral, vaginal or anal ) with an infected person, or through the use of contaminated needles and syringes, transfusion of infected blood and blood products and from infected mothers to child.

Incubation Period of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

The incubation period of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can be as short as a few months up to 17 years with an average of 8 to 10 years.

Symptoms of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

  • Flu-like illness for 2 to 3 weeks
  • Prolonged fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Malaise
  • Rash

Testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

  • Rapid oral saliva tests for HIV antibody
  • Rapid fingerprick blood tests for HIV Antibody
  • Blood tests for HIV Antibody
  • Blood tests for HIV Antibody and p24 Antigen
  • PCR Blood tests for HIV-RNA / DNA

Testing for HIV can be done as early as 10 days to 3 months post-exposure.

Treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Once diagnosed with HIV, patients will require a full medical and physical evaluation as well as determination of HIV viral load status. They may then be started on anti-retroviral therapy.

Prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

There is no firm evidence to recommend for or against prophylaxis post-sexual or I/V exposure.

Post Exposure Prophylaxis of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is recommended in the following situations:

  • Where the risk is high, meaning unprotected anal or vaginal sexual intercourse with a known HIV positive partner, a high risk partner ( sex worker, intravenous drug user, MSM ) or a partner of unknown risk

Post Exposure Prophylaxis of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is recommended to be started within 72 hours of exposure

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