ABC Medical Center > HIV/AIDS

What is HIV/AIDS?

21:56 - 4 May , 2021


It is a chronic disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that affects the immune system, weakening the body’s ability to defend itself against infections, leaving it vulnerable, and putting life at risk. It is transmitted through sexual contact or infected blood and can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding the baby.

It is important to mention that the virus is not contracted by hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with an infected person, nor does it spread through the air, water, or food. This infection can be contracted by anyone regardless of age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.

The risk factors that increase its appearance are: 

  • Having unprotected sex.
  • Having multiple sexual partners.
  • Having a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Intravenous drug use.

Signs and symptoms HIV/AIDS

Symptoms vary depending on the stage of infection. So it is usually classified into:

Acute HIV:

  • Decreased body weight.
  • Headache.
  • Sore throat.
  • Sores in the oral mucosa.
  • Sore muscles and joints.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Rash.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Coughing fits.

During this stage, the infection spreads faster.

Chronic HIV:

It can last for years, where the virus is in the body, but there are no symptoms, although some patients develop other serious ailments at the same time.

Symptomatic HIV:

With the spread of the virus in the body and the weakening of the immune system, the following symptoms may appear:

  • Decreased body weight.
  • Candidiasis.
  • Tiredness and weakness.
  • Diarrheal episodes.
  • High fever.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Herpes Zoster.
  • Appearance of pneumonia.

If you have these symptoms or suspect you are infected with HIV, you must see a specialist to assess you, since this disease, if not treated in time, can trigger AIDS, which is when HIV is in an advanced state and has seriously impaired the immune system, leading to various infections or other conditions such as cancer.

Diagnosis and treatment HIV/AIDS

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform various diagnostic tests, including: 

  • Antibody analysis.
  • Antigen and antibody tests.
  • Nucleic acid tests.

If you are diagnosed with HIV, your doctor will assess whether you require additional tests to determine the progress of the disease. There is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS, but antiretroviral therapy, which is a combination of several drugs, helps: 

  • Inhibit drug-resistant strains of HIV.
  • Measure drug resistance.
  • Enhance the elimination of the virus in the blood.

Remember that the best way to prevent HIV/AIDS is by taking care of your health and avoiding the risk factors that can contribute to its spread.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


  • flsida.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • mayoclinic.org
  • who.int
  • msdmanuals.com
  • medigraphic.com
  • Pérez BJE, Viana CLF. Factores asociados a la no adherencia terapéutica a los antirretrovirales en personas con VIH/sida. Rev Cubana Med Trop. 2020;72(2):1-14.
  • Suárez GPY, Martínez LT. Rehabilitación en pacientes con virus de inmunodeficiencia humana. Rev Cubana Med Gen Integr. 2020;36(3):.
  • de Castro CC, Reis RK, Souza NLA, et al. Caracterización epidemiológica de personas que viven con VIH/sida. Rev Cuba Enf. 2019;35(1):1-10.
  • Bien GMI, Sol BY, Yero QY, et al. Estrategia de prevención para disminuir el índice de contagio por VIH/SIDA. Policlínico Bayamo. 2018. Mul Med. 2020;24(3):557-568.

How can we help you?

    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.