Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV weakens and destroys a person’s immune system by attacking some cells in the human body called the T cells. HIV is constantly being transmitted from one person to another through;
- Virginal fluid and
- Breast milk.
How long does HIV take to turn to AIDS?
AIDS, is the third and final stage of HIV. The process of damaging the immune system takes some time, and hence one does not get AIDS immediately after they acquire HIV.
It is not necessary for one who has HIV to acquire AIDS. If the virus is detected and treated in its early stages, it is possible to curb its progression to AIDS. This is why it is so important and necessary for one to regularly be tested, as it gives a chance to curb the virus. If one gets tested and is found positive with the virus, they should seek treatment early. Antiretroviral drugs restore the immune system before the condition advances to AIDS.
Research shows that many people are unknowingly living with the virus. This condition can be dangerous, as it might be too late for an effective treatment. Others get tested, but they fail to go and get treatment early due to fear of being stigmatized. This gives time to the virus to damage the immune system and eventually progress to HIV.
In most people, HIV turns to AIDS in ten to fifteen years. However, in rare cases, HIV can turn into AIDS early. This happens in cases where one does not receive antiretroviral therapy at the early stages of HIV. HIV attacks the CD4 cells (T cells). These are the cells responsible for fighting off infections attacking the body. The virus covers and attacks these cells destroying them over time. The CD4 count lowers to a point where the body cannot fight off infections anymore, leading to opportunistic infections or cancers. This is the stage referred to as AIDS.