Travel Health

From: Travel Health Information and Advice

HIV and Aids
Human Immunodeficiency Virus commonly known as HIV is a retrovirus that destroy's specific blood cells that affect the bodies immune system and its ability to fight off infection and disease.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV when the bodies immune system has become severely compromised. Breakthroughs in drug treatment can delay the onset of AIDS, in some cases for decades.

HIV Symptoms
Symptoms vary from person to person with many people appearing healthy and active and showing no visible signs of the virus. However some people can show flu like symptoms after a few weeks of becoming infected by the virus.

Once the virus takes hold symptoms such as weight loss, exhaustion, rash's, swollen lymph nodes, fever that occurs especially at night and diarrhoea.

AIDS Symptoms
Due to the nature of the virus, infection can occur throughout the bodies already compromised internal systems, affecting areas such as the respiratory system, the brain, skin and mucous membranes and internal organs.

How HIV is Spread
HIV can only reproduce itself within the human body not outside it.

HIV and AIDS Worldwide
Although HIV and Aids can be found globally countries in Sub Saharan Africa in particular South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania are some of the largest affected HIV areas in the world. The South and South East of Asia also has a significant percentage of its population infected.

Test For HIV
Testing for HIV is available at many Health Clinics and doctor's surgeries. An antibody test is often used to detect if HIV antibodies can be found in the blood, urine or saliva. Results can be anything from 20 minutes to 2 to 3 weeks depending on the test and facilities used.

How To Help Prevent HIV
If you believe you may have been exposed to HIV then seek medical advise immediately.

HIV Therapy
The use of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) is used to help prevent the HIV virus from reproducing within the body, thus allowing the body's immune system to cope for longer helping to prolong the life of the individual for several more years.