Exactly what are STDs And the way do they relate to HIV infection?

If you have ever had an STD, you may have been exposed to HIV as well, and should consider getting tested for HIV. If you currently have an STD, you need to see a medical provider as soon as possible. Having an STD causes the skin to break down and can increase the risk of getting HIV, or passing HIV to others if an HIV-infected person has an STD. STDs also can cause problems of their own, which can range from minor and annoying in nature to serious and life-threatening. Some STDs can be present without causing symptoms. Therefore, if you think you are at risk of contracting STDs, you should be tested routinely for both HIV and STDs, even if you have no symptoms. Protect yourself Taking steps to protect yourself from HIV, such as using condoms and other latex barriers if you are having sex, will also provide protection against many other STDs. Some STDs (such as herpes and genital or anal warts), however, can still be passed by skin-to-skin contact during sex even if you are taking steps to protect yourself from HIV. To become infected with HIV, infected blood, semen or vaginal secretions must enter your body. You can’t become infected through ordinary contact — hugging, kissing, dancing or shaking hands — with someone who has HIV or AIDS. HIV can’t be transmitted through the air, water or via insect bites.

You can become infected with HIV in several ways, including:  During sex. You may become infected if you have vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner whose blood, semen or vaginal secretions enter your body. The virus can enter your body through mouth sores or small tears that sometimes develop in the rectum or vagina during sexual activity. Blood transfusions. In some cases, the virus may be transmitted through blood transfusions. American hospitals and blood banks now screen the blood supply for HIV antibodies, so this risk is very small. Sharing needles. HIV can be transmitted through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood. Sharing intravenous drug paraphernalia puts you at high risk of HIV and other infectious diseases such as hepatitis.  From mother to child. Infected mothers can infect their babies during pregnancy or delivery, or through breastfeeding. But if women receive treatment for HIV infection during pregnancy, the risk to their babies is significantly reduced.

The symptoms of HIV and AIDS vary, depending on the phase of infection. Although the symptoms of primary HIV infection may be mild enough to go unnoticed, the amount of virus in the blood stream (viral load) is particularly high at this time. As a result, HIV infection spreads more efficiently during primary infection than during the next stage of infection Clinical latent infection
In some people, persistent swelling of lymph nodes occurs during clinical latent HIV. Otherwise, there are no specific signs and symptoms. HIV remains in the body, however, as free virus and in infected white blood cells. Clinical latent infection typically lasts years. A few people stay in this stage even longer, but others progress to more severe disease much sooner. Early symptomatic HIV infection
As the virus continues to multiply and destroy pep hiv immune cells, you may develop mild infections or chronic symptoms such as: If you receive no treatment for your HIV infection, the disease typically progresses to AIDS in about 10 years. By the time AIDS develops, your immune system has been severely damaged, making you susceptible to opportunistic infections — diseases that wouldn’t trouble a person with a healthy immune system. The signs and symptoms of some of these infections may include:
AIDS is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight the organisms that cause disease.

HIV is a sexually transmitted disease. It can also be spread by contact with infected blood, or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. It can take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS. There’s no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are medications that can dramatically slow the progression of the disease. These drugs have reduced AIDS deaths in many developed nations. But HIV continues to decimate populations in Africa, Haiti and parts of Asia. Causes Scientists believe a virus similar to HIV first occurred in some populations of chimps and monkeys in Africa, where they’re hunted for food. Contact with an infected monkey’s blood during butchering or cookingSTIs are a worldwide public health concern because there is more opportunity for STIs to be spread as more people travel and engage in sexual activities. Some STIs have been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers and infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Pregnant women can spread STIs to their babies. Many people may not have symptoms of an STI but are still able to spread an infection. STI testing can help find problems early on so that treatment can begin if needed. It is important to practice safer sex with all partners, especially if you or they have high-risk sexual behaviors. See the Prevention section of this topic.

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