Marla Ahlgrimm Shares Facts About HIV in Women

Marla AhlgrimmHIV is a virus that affects the T-cells of the body, which work to fight disease. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, women with HIV are more prone to cervical cancer and severe pelvic inflammatory disease.

Transmission

HIV is a virus spread most commonly through unprotected sexual intercourse. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that people who use intravenous drugs may contract the virus if they share a needle with an HIV+ user. In women, HIV is typically contracted during unprotected vaginal sex.
Symptoms

HIV develops in three stages before culminating in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), says Marla Ahlgrimm. Once the virus enters the body it takes approximately two months for symptoms of the primary infection to emerge. These include fever, swollen lymph glands, rash, sore throat, and headache. Beyond the primary infection, swollen lymph nodes are usually the only symptom of the clinical latent infection stage. Marla Ahlgrimm describes the signs of an early symptomatic HIV infection as similar to the primary infection with the inclusion of extreme fatigue, persistent oral yeast infections, shingles, diarrhea, and unintentional weight loss.

Progression to AIDS

Untreated, an HIV infection will likely progress to AIDS within 10 years. When this happens, the body is virtually unable to fight off even mild illnesses. AIDS presents with symptoms including recurrent fever, skin rashes, soaking night sweats, and lesions on the tongue or soft tissue of the mouth.

Treatment

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that the treatment goal for HIV/AIDS is to control the virus’ growth; currently, there is no cure for HIV. A person with HIV who is receiving antiviral treatments must continue taking medication every day for the rest of their life.  Treatment is difficult and many of the drugs used may cause severe side effects including vomiting, heart disease, muscle wasting, high blood sugar, and bone weakening.

Women with HIV should practice safe sex to avoid spreading the disease to their partners. HIV may be passed from mother to child in utero.

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