Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a member of the retrovirus family. HIV infection can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This is a sexually transmitted disease.

The most common HIV infections ways include sexual contact –vaginal, oral or anal, sharing needles among heroin-addicts and the transmission from infected mothers to their newborns during pregnancy, child birth or breastfeeding. The virus is present in blood and genital secretions in all infected persons whether they have symptoms or not. If the body secretions from an infected person enter in the body of other person he is infected. Small cuts in the skin or a puncture with a needle or even the mucus membrane of the eyes can transmit the virus inside the body.

Sexual transmission of HIV has been reported from men to women, women to men, men to men and women to women through unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex. If you have new partner abstinence is the best way to avoid sexual transmission because HIV antibody test can take up six months to show positive results. It is important both must have a negative result after six months. Condom can prevent transmission, but it must be placed as soon as the erection is achieved. This is because even the pre-ejaculatory fluid can contain the virus. A condom must also be used in oral sex. A dental dam or a square piece cut from condom must be used during the oral contact with the vaginal area to prevent vaginal secretions from coming in direct contact with the mouth.

The common symptoms of HIV infection include:

• Fever
• Muscles pain
• Joints pain
• Sore throat
• Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

But not all infected are showing the symptoms and this makes everything difficult.

Everyday after the infection billions of viruses are produced in the body. These reduce the number of CD4 cells in the blood in the coming years. Thus the immune system weakens. The viruses are found throughout the body, mainly in the brain, genital secretions and lymph nodes. AIDS may affect within a year or it is totally symptom-free even after 20 years. Normally, it takes approximately 8 to 10 years from HIV infection to AIDS. The reason for this vast difference is not yet known.

HIV infection could not be cured, but it could be treated well with protease inhibitors and other medicines. But these medicines have very severe side effects.

It is sad that nobody including the pharmaceutical companies talk about the vaccinations after 20 years of HIV. There are several practical problems and for many we have to do further much research. But, it is in our hands to be careful or not.