HIV/AIDS has been considered as a serious health issue for the past three decades. However, now it has turned to be a major ‘developmental catastrophe’ that would dismantle all achievements of the past half century. (World Bank, p.1)
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Although the terms HIV and AIDS are used interchangeably, all HIV carriers do not necessarily develop symptoms for many years. Human Immunodeficiency Virus weakens the immune system and allows external substances, virus, or bacteria attack the human body. Once the immune system of the person is weakened, he/she becomes susceptible to multiple diseases. The HIV can be present in the bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. The infection usually affects the internal body parts like lungs, central nervous system, and gastrointestinal system. (Griffith, Moore, Yoder & Pederson, 2006, p.381).
As mentioned earlier, the victim may or may not show symptoms at the initial stage of HIV infection. It depends on the health and habits of the individual how soon the infection may progress to AIDS. In the same way, many of the initial symptoms might be misdiagnosed as flu or other mild illnesses. Therefore, identifying the infection is not easy unless the person undergoes specific medical tests and diagnosis.
However, there are certain symptoms in common such as fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, and diarrhea. In addition to these initial symptoms acute fatigue, weight loss, respiratory and skin infections, swollen lymph glands, genital changes, night sweats, mouth sores and acute diarrhea also might make the patient’s condition highly repulsive. (Griffith et al, 2006, p.381).
There are varieties of tests to identify whether an individual is infected with HIV. The first type of tests includes HIV antibody test, P24 antigen test, and PCR test. The other