Learn the Basics on AIDS this AIDS Awareness Month

May is an important month for the HIV/AIDS community. Not only is it AIDS Awareness Month, it’s also National HIV Testing Day on June 27.

Though many know the acronyms HIV and AIDS, the details on these diseases are often fuzzy until you or someone you know is diagnosed.

To spread some AIDS awareness this May, we’re sharing the basics on the disease.

The Basics on AIDS

What is AIDS?

Short for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, AIDS is an immune system disease that’s the final stage of HIV infection. As its name states, AIDS is not a genetic disease — it is acquired after birth through exposure to HIV. When HIV infection progresses enough and your immune system is more fully compromised, you can catch opportunistic infections or cancers or may have a low number of CD4 cells. Once you reach this point, you are considered to have AIDS and must get treatment, since it can be fatal.

How Do You Get AIDS?AIDS awareness

AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection. HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is found in bodily fluids, including human blood, breast milk, pre-seminal fluids, semen, vaginal fluids, and anal mucous. Other bodily fluids and waste products, such as feces, saliva, tears, sweat, urine, nasal drainage, and vomit, have lower levels of HIV that probably won’t cause infection unless they are mixed with blood.

HIV-infected fluids can be transmitted during sexual contact, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, needle-sharing (usually for illegal drug use), or blood transfusion if the blood or organ is not properly screened. Health care providers may also be exposed to HIV in their work.

What are the Symptoms of AIDS?

When HIV infection progresses to AIDS, the following symptoms may arise:

  • Weight loss (usually very rapid)
  • Night sweats or recurring fevers
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Pneumonia
  • Swelling lymph glands in the groin, armpits, or neck
  • Diarrhea lasting more than one week
  • Presence of sores on the genitals, anus, or mouth
  • Pink, purple, red, or brown spots inside the mouth, on or under the skin, on the nose, or on eyelids

Get HIV Testing Today at ARCpoint Labs of Overland Park

If you are sexually active or otherwise at risk for HIV exposure, it’s essential that you get HIV testing regularly so that you can catch and treat it before it progresses to AIDS. ARCpoint Labs of Overland Park provides accurate, confidential HIV testing to the Kansas City and Johnson County areas.

Learn more about our STD testing services by calling (913) 815-0988 or contacting us today.

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