There is life with HIV

What does HIV do to you? - Revised and republished -


What HIV does to you, Cláudio, is what you need to understand, a doctor told me.

It was a sad and dark gloomy afternoon almost a quarter of a century ago. And it's important that you also know ...

… What HIV does to You

Unfortunately and eventually, When HIV infection is left untreated, it still progresses to AIDS.

She, Life; and she, AIDS, was not so verbose with me, it is true.

Because certain things, in those days and nights of lead, were not even dreamed.

And in a way, this text will tell you more than I heard that afternoon.

Because a lot of it, it only came a little, long or well after 1994, 1995, 1996 and so on!…

And starting with what goes well below is a good start.

HIV and system immune 

Célula CD4 e Molécula CD4
This is a white cell from the leukocyte series. It is not a representation of a CD4 cell. What I want to establish with this image is the plain and simple fact that NO ONE can dare to diagnose AIDS based on the ***** LEUKOCYTES **** CATSO series count.

Your immune system must protect you from viruses and other infections. Why, then, doesn't protect you from HIV? 

The answer is complicated, I know that, but essentially, it's because HIV destroys cells CD4, which direct and command this same immune response from the immune system (another name for the same thing). 

This destruction of cells CD4 (and several other processes we are gradually learning about) hinder the proper functioning of the immune system.

In one of the last consultative conversations I had with Dr. Angela she put it that way.

AIDS is the little tip Iceberg from the things that happen to the human organism when it comes into contact with HIV.

Neurological Complications and What HIV Does to You

Just to illustrate what she says I have a big and exponentially growing daily drama that is peripheral HIV neuropathy and although on examination, which I need to renew, I have not suffered neurocognitive losses.

E This is a fact common to the lives of people who grow older with HIV, although it does not happen to all people.

However, the number of people over the age of 50 is still incipient, and therefore aged with HIV, we do not know how this will change from now on.

Your immune system will be too damaged to defend itself from various cancers and infections., daily called opportunistic diseases, life-threatening to you or whoever is really infected with HIV and who, without treatment, evolves (…) to AIDS!

No matter what HIV does to you! There is life with HIV

But don't freak out:

But always keep in mind that you don't have to panic if you get a reagent because there is life with HIV! I have been in this fight for almost 25 years!

Is wellWOW They gave me six months to live that bad night!

Life with HIV, a hard way! But long !!! And that's good!!!

The number of CD4 cells in the bloodstream - your CD4 count - it is one of the most important measures of the immune strength of people with HIV and in the progression or not towards an AIDS picture.

In the past, we have painted a fairly straightforward picture of HIV infection:  The train descending, without brakes and down the mountain, towards a destroyed bridge.

HIV infects and destroys CD4 cells, causing the CD4 count decreases. We have now learned that this description of events is oversimplified and oversimplified. 

It's true that HIV infects and directly kills CD4 cells. However, however, HIV causes far more harm in far more indirect ways. 

Constant Immune Activation

In this way, the efforts of the immune to fight the virus put him in a state of immune activation, or inflammatory process (constant inflammation and this is not good, obviously, as it is being sick in one way or another all the time from the first day of contact with HIV to the last breath.

And yet, see, be elite controller it's not an enviable situation

Guys, I know how this is. I've been grinding this thing, which never stops coming with more “grains”, since 1994!

Extended stroke risk - Take care

Thus, over time, prolonged inflammation can increase a person's risk of heart attacks and lead to other damage such as AVC, myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism (I had two).

And also different and varied types of cancers, linked directly, as opportunistic diseases, the presence of HIV.

Such as the Kaposi's sarcoma and Hodgkins Lymphoma and non-Hodgkins lymphomas, such as Burkitt's lymphoma, which in one way or another, affect your quality of life, undermining your physical, mental and emotional health.

Emotional health. For three decades, I have not had this, nor the proper care.

Having survived at night was a miracle.

I have learned that there is a difference between mental health and emotional health and, with so much damage, caused directly by HIV.

As well as others, linked to aging, associated with your body's biological impairment factors, andu tell you please use the condom if possible even within marriage, An extra tip I give to married women !!! Pay attention!

One in five heterosexual men get HIV from other men!

The stages of HIV infection

  1. When HIV infection is not treated with antiretroviral drugsThe course of the disease usually moves through several phases. 
  2. Na primary infection (also called acute infection), HIV is established throughout the body. 
  3. Within a few weeks, in the overwhelming and normal majority of cases, the immune system develops antibodies against the virus - a process known as seroconversion.
  4. The infection enters a chronicle phase. During this phase, a person may have no symptoms, only mild symptoms or severe symptoms. 
  5. If left untreated, HIV infection progresses until the immune system is too weak to defend itself from life-threatening infections and cancers.

This stage is called the AIDS. This is where things start to get complicated!

AIDS is one of the consequences of untreated life with HIV

Around the year two thousand I read an article in a magazine specialized in politics talking, with the property that a shrimp would talk about a constellation in Andromeda, that “the beginning of the end would be when a CD4 count around 500 is reached.

Note that the expression “around” is my wedge, as they seem to have failed to clarify this point. Well, a lot of people panicked.

Paspanata and the Deity Syndrome

Sig, my infection of the time, had cleared this for me;

See, apart from the paspanata who looked after me in the foster home and the other, who had the damn deity syndrome; I was always happy to find doctors!

It is very efficient to be isolated from an inconvenient person! It is no use being a good professional, what Flor was not even a “flower” like sheire (“S”), and still being arrogant! Of this quality she had megatons left! To the Hell with her !!!

However, the course of HIV infection is not a one-way street. In addition to preventing the development of life-threatening illnesses, anti-HIV drugs can halt the disease's progress and allow the immune system to rebuild even in people with very serious illnesses.

During the first stage of HIV infection, the viral load is high and CD4 count decreases

Since the body produces anti-HIV antibodies (seroconversion), viral load decreases and CD4 count returns to a more normal level.

Primary Infection and Viral Load

During the first stage of HIV infection, called a primary or acute infection, the virus travels from the point of infection - usually the genital tissues or the bloodstream - to the lymph nodes.

This process takes a few days. When HIV is inside the lymph nodes, it replicates, makes copies of itself using CD4 cells very quickly, and releases a large amount of new new viruses. (virion is a medical / scientific expression meaning the same thing) in the bloodstream.

This rapid “demographic” burst of HIV usually lasts two to three months. During primary infection, the amount of HIV in the blood ( viral load) It is too high. This makes people very infectious during the primary infection and is usually a time when the vast majority of people even suspect being infected!

Immunological window: 30 days and dot

They may have no or very few symptoms, and standard HIV tests may not detect HIV infection at this early stage for up to 30 days, up to four weeks, so to speak.

During this time, there is usually a sharp but only temporary drop in the number of CD4 cells. The body also begins to produce large numbers of cells. CD8. These CD8 cells produce natural substances that help shut down or destroy HIV-infected cells, thereby helping to reduce the amount of virus in the blood.

Some people experience flu-like symptoms two to four weeks after their first contact with HIV.

Too nonspecific symptoms

This may include one or more of the following signs:

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • unexpected tiredness or lack of energy
  • swollen lymph nodes,
  • joint and muscle pain
  • rash.

However, many people do not experience any symptoms when first infected.

As the immune system learns to recognize and fight HIV, it begins to produce Antibodies for HIV.

The Search for HIV Antibodies

This process, known as seroconversion, usually occurs within two to four weeks after infection. Seroconversion is important because the best test we have to know if you have been infected with HIV is HIV antibody test. 

This test does not specifically look for HIV; instead, it looks for the antibodies that your immune system produces in response to HIV infection.

Although HIV antibody testing is very good at detecting HIV, it may not give an accurate result until four weeks after infection. The exact amount of time depends on the specific test being used.

There are new HIV tests that look for the presence of the virus, not antibodies. These tests are able to detect infections earlier - as early as two weeks after infection. Even when these newer tests are used, they are usually accompanied by an HIV antibody test to confirm the result.

Seroconversion and Late Seroconversion

Seroconversion indicates that the immune system has learned to control partially - but not completely - infection movements.

At this point, very high levels of virus in the blood drop slightly and the CD4 count returns to a more normal level. This signals the start of the next phase of the infection - the chronic phase.

Once the body begins to produce anti-HIV antibodies, HIV infection begins a phase of chronic infection.

If left untreated, the level of HIV in the blood eventually increases and the CD4 count decreases slightly each day.

Chronic Infection/Asymptomatic

After primary infection and seroconversion, HIV infection enters a chronic, long-term phase. During this time, the virus continues to replicate even if there are no obvious signs or symptoms of infection. As this phase progresses, CD4 counts gradually decrease (although they may remain stable for many years) and symptoms tend to worsen.

Although specificities may vary widely among individuals, untreated chronic HIV infection usually progresses from symptoms - or asymptomatic for symptomatic and finally to a stage where life-threatening infections are likely and possible.

Asymptomatic means "without symptoms". 

Many people with HIV may have little or no signs or symptoms of the disease for up to 10 years! During this time, the only evidence of HIV infection can come from laboratory tests: measurable blood levels of HIV and a blood count. CD4 below from normal.

However, even when there are no apparent signs or symptoms of HIV, the virus can be damaging the body in less obvious ways.

As your body actively fights an infection, such as HIV infection, immune cells produce high levels of messenger molecules called cytokines, which signal "alerts" for other immune cells to take action.

This “on” state is the immune activation ou inflammation.

More Consequences of Increased Immune Activity

Most infections last only a limited time, after which most immune cells return to their normal “resting” or “inactive” state, according to scientists and health professionals, my warlike view of things would say states of alertness, surveillance and patrolling.

Chronic HIV infection, however, throws the immune system into a persistent state of inflammation. Almost a state of siege. This can be harmful in many ways.

First, HIV infects activated CD4 cells more easily, so an activated immune system gives the virus more cells to infect.

Prolonged immune activation also shortens the life of CD4 cells and possibly, says the text, other immune cells. It can slowly damage blood vessels, increasing a person's risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke. “Stroke”).

It can accelerate the pace of liver damage in people with viral hepatitis and damage bones, kidneys and other parts of the body.

Long Term Non Progressors

Most people living with untreated HIV will eventually develop more obvious symptoms. Some individuals lucky ones they continue to have normal CD4 counts and no symptoms for much longer - perhaps throughout the normal lifespan of these cells.

These rare individuals are called long-term nonprogressors ou elite controllers. It is not an enviable condition, as the author of the original text makes it seem.

On the other hand, in some people, HIV infection can progress much faster, causing symptoms and significant decreases in the presence of CD4 cells in just a few years.

Symptomatic infection

Over time, untreated HIV gradually causes increasing damage and the body's defenses weaken. At some point, symptoms of HIV infection begin to appear.

This can vary greatly between individuals, both in the time it takes to develop and the types of problems that occur.

Some of the most common symptoms include chronic fatigue, unexpected weight loss, diarrhea, fever, night sweats and skin problems.

This stage is associated with the development of HIV-related infections, such as fungal infection by candida, which causes candidiasis (Amarilis was diagnosed like this…) in the mouth or throat and vaginal candidiasis in the vagina. 

Usually (though not always), The first infections and symptoms to appear are not serious or life-threatening..

They serve as warning signs that the immune system is significantly damaged and that HIV disease will continue to worsen unless treated.

Life-threatening infections and AIDS

If the immune system is damaged too much, it makes HIV-positive people vulnerable to infections that a healthy immune system could easily control. 

In general, these infections can be very serious or life-threatening. They are called opportunistic infections.

Eu (the author of the text, not the translator) I was diagnosed at the hospital. I was really sick and didn't know what was going on.

So they did an HIV test and I tested positive.

I was in terrible shape. My CD4 count was 33 and my viral load was half a million. I had pneumonia (PCP). (statements by the author of the text and not mine, the translator).

Some of them, such as oral yeast infections, may be relatively minor and easy to treat (although even oral yeast infections can become very serious in people whose immune system is weak).

O Herpes can be more serious and a lot of caution and attention with the Zoster, if you had chicken pox as a child. I Cláudio, I almost went through the pipe in this detail….

Other Opportunistic Diseases

Other opportunistic diseases which can also lead to serious complications and can be fatal if the immune system is weak include PCP (Pneumocystis pneumonia), MAC (Mycobacterium Avium Complex), Toxo (Toxoplasmosis gondii), tuberculosis and CMV (cytomegalovirus). Certain types of cancers, such as certain lymphomas, are also more common in people with HIV.

CD4 and Opportunistic Diseases

The risk of life-threatening infections is usually closely linked to the CD4 count:

A person's risk of developing many opportunistic infections increases when the CD4 count falls below 200 cells. 

For a person whose CD4 count is low, medications to prevent and treat opportunistic infections are crucial. They are called chemoprophylaxis.

The term AIDS describes the most serious stage of HIV infection when the immune system is severely damaged and life-threatening infections set in. AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome:

  • Acquired it means that the condition is not inherited - you acquire (get) at some point in your life.
  • Immune deficiency It is a weakness in your immune system.
  • The syndrome It is a combination of symptoms and / or diseases.

In Canada (the origin of this text is Canadian), AIDS is diagnosed when a person with HIV develops one or more opportunistic infections or cancers that define AIDS.

HIV need not necessarily lead to AIDS

Fortunately, HIV infection does not necessarily lead to AIDS. Antiretroviral drugs may slow or interrupt the effects of the virus on the immune system. Even people who have had serious illnesses that define AIDS can usually recover and stay healthy with proper care. This is good news because the word AIDS It's scary. This goes back to the time when the progression of HIV disease was almost inevitable: 

People contracted HIV, developed AIDS, and then died..

Things have changed a lot since then. 

For people with HIV who receive proper care, with regular medical appointments, who take their medications as directed and remain healthy, and AIDS is no longer a perennial concern once you start treating yourself.

Test yourself! It's worth knowing But accept the results!

The words we use to describe HIV have been changed to reflect this new reality. Medical problems resulting from HIV infection are now often referred to as HIV disease ou chronic HIV infection

These terms can be used to describe the condition of someone being treated or not and regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with AIDS. 

Translator's note:

The study "START”Changed the vision of starting treatment to as soon as diagnosed and the expression of the author of the text may seem blurred, but it refers to me as just a way of expressing the author.

Don't lose faith, don't give up on yourself or have hope!

There is no reason for HIV infection to inevitably lead to serious illness or death. 

Proper treatment can prevent HIV from causing serious illness. 

Treatment can also help people improve their health and stay healthy even if they have already become ill with HIV-related infections.

In addition to treatment, there are many other factors that also affect the speed with which HIV disease progresses.

These include the following:
  • age
  • the strength of the virus you are infected with
  • How strong your immune system responds to virus
  • nutrition
  • of smoking
  • illicit drug use
  • Mental stress (and how this stress is handled)
  • other infections such as hepatitis B or C

Some of these factors are not controllable, but others are. 

You may not be able to change your age.  And how we wish it!

I and the author agree well on this point.!!

But you can do something about how well you eat and consume tobacco or use illicit drugs.

Unfortunately, some people do not find out they are HIV positive until they have lived with the virus for many years, even under the impact of very serious diseases. 

Boys… and Girls I saw what HIV can do to you!

I, Claudio, met people who were diagnosed at very difficult times in their lives!

With diagnoses of serious illnesses, who survived and are well, but I also met people who were not HIV carriers, but relatives of people with HIV hospitalized, often in ICUs, with serious illnesses, for which I did not see hope and, that I preferred to wait for the facts to happen and I saw, deplorably unhappy, that my fears were correct… .. 🙁 🙁 🙁

I have often failed to conduct myself before these people, and now I understand these things better. It is forward that one lives.

And yet, I saw, too, scared people, who sent me, a complete stranger, pictures of themselves, in tears, scared and scared.

I saw the beginning of people's recovery, although I lost some of them

In fear and, thank God, I saw them recover, gain weight, trust and follow their destiny.

And, I know, and I know well, that your diagnosis may be the result of a serious HIV-related illness that catches you by surprise. 

And yes, I know, it's Scary, if you are seeing this blog on a Smartphone in a hospital bed, try to calm down.

Although there are many works like this blog, Soropositivo.Org, I already said that There Living with HIV, on the internet, in the year 2000 and, yes, this is all very complicated, but I have shown that there is life with HIV since that date.

This should help you understand that there is no doubt!

If I could survive for almost three years without treatment and all the while taking the treatment, which when it started was a liver punch, today, to me, it's small coffee! And for you, I have no doubt! It will be too.

And no one can say the same thing, from a personal job, still online!

There are other works that I will never be able to do, in the material, personal field, seems not to have this idea of ​​God, up there and yes, I know:

Everything is as God wishes

Resilience is a daily construction. And I insist, I persist and I urge you to believe: "There is life with HIV". You can bet on your neck and everything!

I would not say it if it were not so !!!

Count on me today, and always, within my natural limitations to all this history and baggage, seeking me through this channel.

Well, I say, infections can usually be treated. 

Most people who develop a serious HIV-related disease and do not take antiretroviral drugs should start treatment as soon as possible to strengthen their immune system to fight the disease and prevent future infections.

People who are positive while still physically healthy have a big advantage:

They know what to look for. 

Viral Load of Astronomical Value

By performing regular and thorough health checkups and routine laboratory tests, you and your doctor can detect changes or warning signs and deal with them before they become major problems.

But if you have a low CD4 count and a high viral load, don't be discouraged. 

My first viral load had an astronomical number, which I don't even remember, and yet, I remember leaving CRT-A, still on Rua Antônio Carlos, so upset that I ended up “running over a bus” on Rua Dona Maria Paula (I collided with his side while the traffic light passed the bus ticket) and fell backwards on the floor ”, but I am still here, since a time when there was no treatment.

It will never be easy. I learned that the good things in life, such as Life itself, if too easy, lose their fun!   


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