HIV stands for the human immunodeficiency virus. This virus is mainly sexually transmitted, but can also be spread by contact with infected blood (i.e. through needles or transfusions). It can also spread from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
HIV attacks the body's immune system and, over time, causes it to be inable to fight colds and other illnesses.
AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The onset of AIDS is determined when the measured viral load for HIV reaches a certain point. Usually at this time the person with HIV has begun to present symptoms of the disease. The time difference between HIV detection and AIDS presentation can range from as little as 6 months to up to 10 years and beyond - it varies from person to person. Effective drug treatments can prolong this period.
These symptoms of a Person Living With AIDS usually include swollen lymph nodes, diarrhea, weight loss, fever accompanied by chills, coughing, shortness of breath, soaking night sweats, headaches, chronic fatigue, distorted vision, and unusual rashes or bumps in the skin.
Once a doctor has determined HIV/AIDS infection, a regimen of antiviral drugs is administered. This regimen is usually composed of cocktails, or combinations, of different types of antiviral drugs. These include:
- reverse transcriptase inhibitors
- protease inhibitors
- entry/fusion inhibitors
- integrase inhibitors
An individual patient's response to the drug cocktail may vary. But many people experience unpleasant side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, general weakness, bone weaknesses, rashes, and heart arrythmias.
Moveable Feast helps clients with HIV/AIDS to best fight their disease through nutrition. Our dietitians help clients keep a healthy body weight & get all the necessary vitamins and minerals in their daily diets. This is necessary to help prevent opportunistic infections.
Consult your primary care physician for more information about HIV/AIDS.